Student Opportunities with DPP

Student Opportunities with DPP

Undergraduate students have great opportunities to gain valuable experience for their future careers right on campus! The Diabetes Prevention Program which is offered through the Safety Services department is one such opportunity for students to take advantage of. 

Many of the departments at UC Davis hire student interns to help out with day-to-day tasks and special projects. Through these internships, students can build their resumes with real-world experience and departments can hire extra hands at a lower cost or for free. 

CDC Full Recognition Status

The Staff and Faculty Health and Well-Being Program received full recognition in July 2020 from the CDC, a difficult achievement in that the CDC requires that the majority of their participants meet the 5% weight loss goal after a year in the program. For clinical nutrition majors interning for DPP, this is a great resume builder to round out a unique experience. You can read the recognition letter here.

Each year, registered dietician, Linda Adams, selects a group of clinical nutrition majors to help educate faculty and staff who are at risk for type 2 diabetes. The students train during the fall with Adams, following a nationally recognized curriculum provided by the CDC, to prepare to lead the discussion sessions that start in the Winter. In teams of two, these students follow their cohort (a group of 13 participants) through this year-long program. 

Former student coach Marina Kan found out about this opportunity through her major department after receiving an email from her advisor. 

“Originally I was interviewing for another position but Linda told me that I would be able to work with people directly from our community. I was excited because you never really get to do that in class. She told me that I could help prevent people from getting diabetes and that is exactly what I want to do in the future as a clinical dietician. I want to help prevent people from getting food-related diseases. This position really aligns with what I want to do in the future so I decided to accept the offer from Linda.”

After taking on the position, Kan began her training with Adams and the other students. During the practice lessons taught by Adams, students were taught how to interact with participants. 

“Something that we often hear people say is that they have been craving chocolate. Linda would ask us how we would reply to a participant saying something like this and then we would all talk about solutions and ideas. It was important to help people to understand their cravings, specifically the emotions hidden behind them.”

To be able for the participants to trust the students with such a sensitive issue such as their health the students would really take the time to practice and hone their teaching skills. This was something that Kan took from her experience.

“I have gained a lot of valuable experiences from interning with DPP. Just talking to the adults is such a different experience, than one that I would normally be presented with, in class. Having to convince them to make lifestyle changes was challenging but through this program, I have learned more about empathy and how to effectively communicate. These are really great skills that I am not able to learn in class.”

Adams states that with the help of the students the participants really open up in a way that they might not be able to around health professionals.

“Food and lifestyle habits are so personal that you might feel judged by a nurse or dietician. None of that is happening here because it is a learning environment for the students. This helps to lighten it up. Both parties are getting something out of it.”

This is a shared sentiment that Kan and others who have participated in the internship have felt. This year despite all its hardships students have shown how willing and committed they are to participants. All of the graduating student coaches this year decided to continue on with their cohorts even though they were not obligated to continue after classes were moved online. The DDP has produced real and positive results not only for the participants trying to get their health on track but also for the students who benefit a lot from this program being available to them.

To learn more about DPP visit their main page and to hear about participant experiences click here

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