Diabetes Education Spurs Couple to Become Community Health Advocates

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Allen Cozine Story Youtube

Allen Cozine and his family had what they thought was a normal lifestyle and diet. Cozine enjoyed cooking meals, the kids played outdoors with their friends in the neighborhood, and Cozine’s wife Janice was active in their children’s school. However, as they would come to learn, the food they were consuming was having a negative impact on their health.

Janice started experiencing back pain one day in 2014, so she went to the doctor’s office. She was treated with pain medication and muscle relaxers, but had no initial blood work done. A couple days later, she started showing signs of lethargy and confusion, so her husband called 911.

Janice was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Her blood sugar level was 560, and when the emergency room doctor checked her A1C, it was 12.1. Janice left the hospital with a walker, an oxygen tank and a referral to the Diabetes Obesity Lifestyle Consultant Pharmacy, where she met her certified diabetes educator.

[The educator] was able to teach my wife and me how food directly affects blood sugar levels, as well as what choices are healthy and what labels are more deceptive than helpful.” 

[The educator] was able to teach my wife and me how food directly affects blood sugar levels, as well as what choices are healthy and what labels are more deceptive than helpful,” Cozine said.

The couple maintained a food log and began attending nutrition classes offered by the pharmacy. Cozine researched healthy alternatives to the foods he prepared for his family. He learned how to balance flavor and nutrition, and soon, the whole family saw results. Cozine’s blood pressure and cholesterol levels dropped to normal ranges, and his wife significantly lowered her A1C level.

The family decided to share what they learned and started a food service called Eat Like Cozine”, which provides home-delivered healthy meals that cover all the nutritional bases. Cozine and his wife do the preparation, cooking, portioning and serving, leaving the customer to simply heat and eat.” The business boasts 10 regular customers.

Cozine and his wife also have become advocates for their community. Cozine leads HealthInsight Nevada’s Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC), and he and his wife are undergoing training to become Diabetes Empowerment Education Program (DEEP)-certified.

I would first and foremost suggest to anyone to find a certified diabetes educator out there for you,” said Cozine. Get the knowledge of how to manage your disease. It is so important because diabetes is a precursor to so many other serious illnesses and can affect your health in so many ways,” he added.

This success story was adapted from a published case study by HealthInsight Nevada of the HealthInsight Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO).