Education at Sentara Helps Patients Prevent and Manage Diabetes

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By Amy Taylor

Sponsored by Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center

The team at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center recognized a big need for diabetes education and support in the community. They are serving our area with a variety of options.

Sandra Gallegos is manager of the Community Health and Outpatient Diabetes & Nutrition Management Program for Sentara. She said, “According to the Virginia Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 8.4 percent of Prince William County residents are living with diabetes. The program meets with both inpatients and outpatients, as well as conducting free A1C screenings.”

“The outpatient Diabetes & Nutrition Management Program at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center is dedicated to improving the health of its patients through prevention, wellness and education. The program provides practical information and skills required to take charge of diabetes. Program services offered include group classes, support groups, gestational diabetes, pre-diabetes, insulin pump training, continuous glucose monitoring, and medical nutrition,” said Gallegos.

Diabetes Education at Sentara

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center will continue offering outpatient classes for patients with diabetes in the new year.

“The Diabetes program offers three types of classes by diabetes disposition (diabetes, gestational diabetes, and diabetes prevention/pre-diabetes) and support groups at different times throughout the month and year to accommodate people’s busy lifestyles,” said Gallegos.

The American Association of Diabetes Educators, or AADE, has recognized the program as a quality patient education program.

“Improved diabetes control is a direct result of a quality diabetes education programs,” Gallegos said.

Here are their 2020 course offerings.

Healthy Living with Diabetes

These courses require a physician’s referral. The cost is a co-pay and it may vary by insurance and the amount of education you acquire annually. This four-class series includes the following.

  • ABC’s of Diabetes will help people living with diabetes learn the basics of self-management.
  • Keys to Success will focus on helping people with diabetes problem solve a variety of issues that may come their way.
  • Healthy Eating and Exercise will teach people with diabetes the right portion sizes, which foods will best support their health and how to shop smartly.
  • Medical Nutrition Therapy is led by an experienced dietitian, registered with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and will give evidence-based medical nutrition education to patients with diabetes. The dietitian will work with students individually to set personalized nutrition goals.

Gestational Diabetes Management

This two-hour class covers diabetes and pregnancy, how to monitor and use your meter, physical activity, individualized meal plan and individual follow-up if you need it. You will need a physician’s referral to attend.

Diabetes Prevention

This two-hour class covers nutrition, exercise and glucose monitoring instruction. The class is offered for a small fee of $80 with a follow-up visit fee of $30. To register, go to You may submit your receipt for the program fee to your insurance company for reimbursement.

How to Access Classes

“Diabetes self-management training is a benefit covered by Medicare and most health plans when provided by a diabetes educator within an accredited/recognized program. To find out what your insurance covers and potential out-of-pocket expenses for individual appointments or group classes, please call your insurance carrier to determine your individual benefits prior to your visit,” Gallegos said.

You will need a referral for all diabetes classes and medical nutrition management services. You can get your provider to submit a referral through electronic medical records or fax the referral to 703-670-0345. Once the team at Sentara receives your referral, a member of their diabetes team will reach out to make an appointment for you.

“The programs at Sentara have a proven record of accomplishment for improving patient outcomes by empowering them to manage their diabetes. Diabetes education programs coach patients to understand what is happening with their diabetes, how it affects their lives and personal goals. We work collaboratively with the patient to set personal goals to develop healthy behaviors. Personalized goals have led to quality outcomes and improvements measured by glycated hemoglobin (A1C), control, blood pressure (BP), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and body mass index (BMI),” said Gallegos.

For more information about the program visit or call 703-523-0590.

Amy Taylor ( is a freelance writer and editor. She earned her BLS in English from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.


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