Chronic conditions such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes have plagued the adult population in the state of Alabama for years. There have been little-to-no positive changes in trends, but a lack of access to healthcare and resources has been identified as the problem.

Individuals suffering from chronic conditions may not possess the knowledge and skills to properly manage their disease. Therefore, these unmet social needs may allow poor health conditions to continue to dominate over people’s lives, potentially leading to higher risks of other health complications such as cardiovascular disease.

Carol Landreau (Wellness Coalition Wellness Navigator) with Resurrection Catholic Church Lay Leaders Michelle Coe (left) and Wanda Twitty (right)

Carol Landreau (Wellness Coalition Wellness Navigator) with Resurrection Catholic Church Lay Leaders Kaitlin Coe (left) and Wanda Twitty (right)

In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) cooperative agreement, The Wellness Coalition (TWC) is working with local partners to address this issue of lack of access by implementing Living Well Alabama classes.

Living Well is a chronic disease self-management program, validated by Stanford University, that bridges the gap of access by educating participants on the best practices of managing their own health. The 6-week course focuses on various lifestyle skills including:

  • Adequate physical activity
  • Proper nutritional consumption
  • Decision making
  • Medication adherence
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Communication approaches

Over time, participants build health accountability and become empowered to make responsible decisions concerning their own wellbeing while reducing their reliance on others.

In the fourth year of the REACH grant cycle, TWC has partnered with three churches in Montgomery County to train their representatives how to teach Living Well classes. These churches are:

  • Better Covenant Ministries
  • Resurrection Catholic Church
  • Victory Through Faith Church

Master trainers from TWC taught a total of eight individuals from all three churches to serve as Lay Leaders. Each church will now conduct three rounds of Living Well classes between now and the summer of 2018.

Resurrection Catholic Church

Resurrection Catholic Church, located at 2815 Forbes Drive in Montgomery, strongly believes in the development of an individual’s spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual being. As a part of their mission to provide for the underserved community around them, they have a school on their campus for children, and they engage the parents of the students to participate in other programs as well. Additionally, they facilitate numerous events to develop lasting relationships and have given back to the local community countless times.

When TWC pitched the idea of Living Well Alabama as a health ministry, church personnel were enthusiastic about the opportunity. They understood how this wellness-focused program was vital to the growth of their community. Their ambitious temperament inspired them to utilize resources within their congregation to advertise the program and gain interest from the community. As an added bonus, one of the church members is connected with WSFA, and this gave the church an opportunity to promote Living Well Alabama on the air.

Graduates from Living Well Alabama classes at Resurrection Catholic Church

Graduates from Living Well Alabama classes at Resurrection Catholic Church

The First Classes at Resurrection

Resurrection’s first round of classes ran November 13 to December 18, 2017. Lay Leaders Wanda Twitty and Kaitlin Coe led the classes. Michelle Coe, the Living Well Alabama Program Manager, spoke highly of the Lay Leaders and their interest to not only teach the class, but to personally nourish the growth of the participants.

“Health is soundness of body and mind, and a healthy life is one that seeks that soundness,” said Michelle. “Our goal in Living Well Alabama is to help people with a chronic disease learn how to function at their very best regardless of the difficulties of the chronic disease. We want them to do the things they want to do and get pleasure from life.”

The success of the class can be attributed not only to the exceptional guidance provided by the Lay Leaders, but also to the ten class attendees.

Carol Landreau, a trained Lay Leader from TWC, observed and assisted the new church Lay Leaders as they taught their first round of classes.

“The participants of the class at Resurrection Catholic Church have been a joy to work with,” said Landreau. “They always seemed excited to be there and were very loyal attendees. Each week they were motivated, did well with their action plans, and worked very well with each other. Due to these things, the class was upbeat, motivational, and encouraging.”

Looking Ahead

Resurrection Catholic Church is looking forward to offering more Living Well classes in 2018, especially after seeing the success of the program.

“Teaching the class was a wonderful experience,” said Kaitlin. “Just knowing that we helped to make a difference in helping someone to make some changes for a better lifestyle is most rewarding.”

After receiving compliments about their achievement, Resurrection Catholic Church will continue to strategically advertise and promote for their next classes to make them just as or even more successful.

What Is “Living Well Alabama”?

Living Well Alabama is a 6-week series of weekly classes that teaches real-life skills for living a healthy life. This program provides participants with the necessary tools for managing a healthy and positive environment while learning to live full and healthy lives with chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, asthma and heart disease. Within these interactive classes, participants can build confidence, learn how to be successful in their day-to-day normal activities, and learn how to effectively deal with emotions that may be present because of a chronic condition diagnosis.

The Living Well Alabama program was created to empower each participant to use self-management tools to become an active manager of his or her health. This program focuses on topics that are common to individuals and their families who are dealing with chronic conditions. The 2.5 hour Living Well Alabama class is conducted once a week for six weeks and is open to members of the public who may have a chronic condition, as well as their friends, family members or caregivers.

For more information about hosting or taking these classes, please call us at 334-293-6502.