The Arkansas Chapter of the American Diabetes Association recently presented Conway Regional’s Diabetes Management program with its highest local honor, the Cure Care Commitment Award.

The award was given to Conway Regional, according to Rick Selig, ADA Arkansas director, for the program’s commitment to help stop diabetes.

The program is led by Rhonda Monfee, program coordinator; Janelle Williamson, registered dietician; Brenda Turner, certified diabetes educator; and volunteer Melissa Max, professor at Harding University College of Pharmacy, is also credited with the program’s success.

Max consults with patients who are enrolled in the educational program, while Turner follows up with individualized information and guidance for each patient.

Williamson, the program’s registered dietician, Monfee says, is the author of the program’s materials that are "second to none."

"Janelle makes the materials accessible to the patients," Max added.

Monfee said other clinics and hospitals often request copies of the program materials.

The core team all have diabetes education credentials, and Monfee said the program is the only one in Arkansas with a complete, multi-discipline approach.

The program’s education course is eight hours, and shows patients how to manage their diabetes and prevent complications.

Materials and followup visits with the educators are also part of the program, which is available by doctor referral.

The program’s support group, which meets at 7 p.m. the last Tuesday of each month, is offered free of charge.

"The support group is a community," Max said.

Williamson said the program is unique because its approach is about overall wellness and health.

According to the group, there are about 100 referring physicians, to whom the team also credit a measure of the program’s success.

Max said about 70 percent of the program’s patients have reached their A1C test goal. The test shows three months of data from an average blood sugar sample.

"If the patients didn’t come back with better results, they wouldn’t keep doing it," Turner said.

Monfee credited the program’s success to a team effort by a number of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, pharmacy students, dietitians and volunteers.

"This program has been successful because of the efforts of a lot of people," Monfee said. "It truly takes a village."

Doctor Greg Kendrick serves as the medical director for the diabetes program. Physician community medical advisors include Doctors Justin Charton, William Furlow, Patricia Knott, Bill Roberts, and Bart Throneberry.

"The results that you have had are really helping us to stop diabetes," Selig told the group. "This is an award to be proud of."

Past winners of the Cure Care award include Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Snell Prosthetics and Orthotics, Jennifer Wilson-Harvey, Bob Robbins, Dr. Bruce Murphy, and Med Camps of Arkansas.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236, or on Twitter @Courtneyism. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)