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Program Empowers Those With Chronic Conditions In Rural Places

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Dealing with a chronic disease is difficult no matter where you live. But when access to a doctor is at least an hour's drive, it becomes especially challenging. A program created by Stanford is being used across the Mountain West to educate rural-based patients in health management.

Dominick Duhamel coordinates the Wyoming version-Healthy U. He said they're already seeing positive results.

"We'll run into people at the grocery store, we'll run into people at the library, we'll see them around town," he said. "And they'll stop and tell us how they're doing, and they're so excited to share with us."

Duhamel said the workshop gives patients tools to feel more empowered. Those tools include best ways to interact with healthcare providers, how to make an action plan so tasks involved in self-management seem less daunting, an appropriate diet for your condition and a safe exercise program. Another part of the program includes workshop leader training. That way volunteers can return to their own communities and help those in need.

"They don't need to be healthcare professionals. They don't need to be nurses. They don't need any credentials whatsoever. All they need to is to be willing to offer workshops in their communities and they need to be passionate about helping people improve their health," he said.

Programs are available at some capacity in every state across the region. To find one near you visit the Self-Management Resource Center.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

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