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April 21, 2009

Marla Augustine, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047 or


DHHS Awards Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital

LincolnMary Lanning Memorial Hospital of Hastings was recently presented the Organization Exceptional Merit Award at the Nebraska Public Health Conference in Lincoln.

The Organization Exceptional Merit Award honors an organization making a significant positive impact on public health, particularly among underserved populations.  The work is high quality, science-based and outcome-oriented.  The positive impact on public health is documentable and likely to be long-lasting.

The award was presented to Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital for the Bienestar De Por Vida Diabetes program. 

Since 2002 the Mary Lanning Diabetes Department, under the direction of DeAnn Carpenter, the Diabetes Program Coordinator, has been making a positive impact on public health by providing minority initiative programs for the Hispanic community. 

Bienestar De por Vida (Wellness for a Lifetime) targets Adams, Clay, Webster, and Nuckolls counties and evolved from success of two previous state-funded minority health programs.  The program has evolved through a partnership with Mary Lanning HealthCare Foundation, Mary Lanning Diabetes Program, the South Heartland District Health Department, and the local YMCA. 

“The program began in 2002 with only 25 people,” said Dr. Joann Schaefer, Nebraska Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Division of Public Health.  “Last year the program impacted more than 300 people, which is outstanding.”  

Diabetes requires long-term disease management and a focus on health information and management techniques.  The Bienestar Program addresses these needs and gives many people the opportunity for longer, healthier lives.  The program is evaluated by clinical results, reports of progress on goal setting, client feedback, documentation of structured client activities, and pre and post tests.

Outcomes in 2008 included 50% of participants losing weight and lowering BMI, 66% of participants maintaining or increasing physical activity; and 85% eating two or more servings of fruits/vegetables every day.  Only 2% of participants used the ER, and that was for non diabetes-related visits.  Sixty two percent of those who exercise lowered or maintained HbA1c, and 88% of the clients who exercised lowered cholesterol numbers within the American Diabetes Association guidelines. 

DeAnn Carpenter and Gerardo Martinez accepted the award.


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