Tidelands Health dietitian earns statewide recognition for diabetes prevention efforts
A Tidelands Health dietitian has earned a statewide award for her dedication, innovation and proven results in helping people reduce their risk of diabetes.
Mary Gianforte, a certified diabetes educator and dietitian with the Tidelands Health Diabetes Center, was named the 2019 National Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Change Coach of the Year.
The award, presented by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, recognizes a lifestyle change coach who has made special contributions in diabetes prevention, has proven results through program participants’ weight loss and who serves as a role model for others in her field.
Gianforte, who has nearly 40 years of experience as a dietitian, works with the team of health professionals at Tidelands Health dedicated to helping prevent the spread of diabetes in Horry, Georgetown and Williamsburg counties, where rates of diabetes are substantially higher than the national average.
“Prevention has always been near and dear to my heart,” Gianforte said. “With the right steps, most cases of diabetes are preventable. It’s rewarding to give people the information, guidance and support to change their habits, reduce or eliminate their risk for diabetes and live healthier lives.”
Gianforte leads diabetes prevention program classes that educate participants on how nutrition and exercise help combat the disease. The members of each class are challenged to lose at least five percent of their combined weight during the year-long program. Gianforte’s classes have lost between five percent and nearly 10 percent. Those results helped the Tidelands Health Diabetes Prevention Program achieve full recognition from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this year.
In 2016, Gianforte completed training as a lifestyle coach through the National Diabetes Prevention Program and recently completed master training education with the Diabetes Training and Technical Assistance Center at Emory University so she can now train other coaches.
State officials presented Gianforte with the award earlier this month at the 2019 Chronic Disease Prevention Symposium.
“I appreciate the recognition that comes with this prestigious award, but all of the dietitians at Tidelands Health really are a team,” Gianforte said. “I certainly didn’t do it by myself. It’s a team effort.”