Jill Hutt Outlines the Impact of COVID-19 on Diabetes Prevention Efforts

Jill Hutt, vice president of member services at the Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health, explains the importance of offering the Diabetes Prevention Program online.

Employers may not have been as focused on diabetes prevention throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, said Jill Hutt, vice president of member services at the Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health (GPBCH), when speaking to the results of Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) implementation.


How has COVID-19 impeded diabetes prevention efforts?

As we all know, we've all been dealing with COVID-19 these past couple of years, and it has distracted, obviously, employers and employees and all of us. So for employers, dealing with COVID-19 as the first issue at hand, rightfully so, they may not have been as focused on promoting programs such as diabetes prevention programs and other programs. Or even if they were, employees may not have been listening, because they were, of course, dealing with COVID-19, pivoting to working from home, and so forth.

That said, I do want to share that, and I'll go back to the city of Wilmington,[Delaware,] for a moment as an example, where COVID-19 occurred while they had an in-person cohort engaged with the program. They looked at, how can we pivot? How can we keep people engaged during this? And they were able to do so working with their vendor partner, the WHYY of Delaware, so that people when they had to move to working from home, and be distanced, they were able then to move to that virtual platform, through their computer or through their phone, and continue to engage in the program.

Many folks already are very savvy with computers, with social media, and all of that. And of course, we know COVID-19 sped that up. This is an example where people stepped up to the task and pivoted, and stayed engaged in the program. We as a coalition, during our employers-only sessions and our webinars and so forth throughout the last 2 years, continued to emphasize with our employer members that now more than ever, during a pandemic don't take your eye off the ball. Be sure you continue to focus on disease prevention; focus on diabetes prevention and the other programs so that people can continue to take care of their health. We all know about and some of us have experienced the COVID 15, 20, or even 30 pound weight gain. So obviously important during a pandemic and not during a pandemic: Keep the eye on the ball with prevention programs.

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