Foods that heal: Nevada County dietitian nutritionists team up to open private practice
Sierra Medical Nutrition Therapy
Janet Moore, MS, RD, CDE
Danielle Yantis, MS, RD, CDE (candidate)
Address: 360 Sierra College Dr., Suite 220, Grass Valley
Open house: 5 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 11
Roughly 30.3 million people, or 9.4 percent of the U.S. population, had diabetes in 2015, according to the 2017 National Diabetes Statistics Report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And the numbers are rising.
The World Health Organization reports that the number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to a startling 422 million worldwide in 2014, and projects that the disease will be the seventh-leading cause of death by the year 2030. Common risk factors for complications include smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood glucose and poor nutrition.
Additionally, cardiovascular disease accounts for nearly 801,000 deaths in the U.S., which is roughly one of every three deaths annually and an average of one death every 40 seconds.
But here’s the good news: a healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco are key ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes and heart disease — and that’s where Danielle Yantis and Janet Moore come in. As longtime registered dietitian nutritionists, Yantis and Moore — who were working in separate health care environments — often grew frustrated with the limited time they had with patients when it came to implementing significant (and potentially life-saving) dietary and lifestyle changes. There just wasn’t enough time devoted to prevention.
“Sometimes I’d have only five to 15 minutes to educate patients and say, ‘Good luck,’” said Moore, who is a clinical dietician and certified diabetes educator. “I saw people leaving afraid.”
While working with patients who were part of extreme medical weight loss programs or had undergone bariatric surgery, Moore said she began to see discouraging weight rebounds, with many patients’ metabolisms slowing down after treatment.
“Diet is the cornerstone of diabetes,” she said. “So with 20 years’ worth of experience I realized, ‘I’ve got to teach FOOD.’”
When it comes to the value of health education and behavioral therapy, there is plenty of research to back up the benefits. Recommendations based on a American Diabetes Association clinical practice state that “individuals who have pre-diabetes or diabetes should receive individualized medical nutrition therapy as needed to achieve treatment goals, preferably provided by a registered dietitian familiar with the components of diabetes medical nutrition therapy.”
Furthermore, it can serve a vital role in “preventing diabetes, managing existing diabetes, and preventing and slowing the onset of diabetes-related complications.”
Yantis, who has been a clinical dietician for the past 23 years and a soon-to-be certified diabetes educator, saw that a great deal more emotional, behavioral and physical support was needed for patients who are attempting to make profound changes in the way they lead their lives.
“As a medically trained clinician and life/behavior coach, I need the time to ask important questions, like ‘Why do you do what you do?’ ‘What’s going on physically? Emotionally?’ What motivates you?’‘What are your triggers?” she said. “I’m educated in that — given the time, I can build trust, break barriers and help bring that information to the surface. We all have an emotional relationship with food. There is no one-size-fits-all diet — each plan is individual.”
With decades of experience between the two of them, Yantis and Moore envisioned their ideal setting for “clients” (not “patients”), where each visit offered a more holistic approach. At long last, the two have now teamed up to form their own Grass Valley private practice, Sierra Medical Nutrition Therapy. Set to open their doors in early November, doctors will be able to send their patients for medical nutrition therapy and diabetes education, in a relaxed, non-sterile setting. An open house is scheduled for Oct. 11.
“Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital is no longer providing out patient nutrition services, which has left a huge health care ‘hole’ in our community,” said Yantis. “The hospital can’t fund it anymore — in addition to doing something we’ve always wanted to do, we’ll be providing a much-needed service.”
A typical visit to Sierra Medical Nutrition Therapy will look like this:
A referral from a physician will initiate an appointment, at which time a check for insurance eligibility will occur. Most plans cover for diabetes and kidney failure education and nutrition support, however coverage for weight loss or other disorders vary depending upon the plan.
Moore and Yantis offer 20 percent discounts for cash clients and say they are happy to use a sliding scale or other options for individuals who cannot afford their fee. Clients are welcome to schedule appointments without a referral or insurance involvement with the expectation that fees will be paid by the individual.
An initial visit is 60 minutes, with follow ups typically 30 minutes. All clients will be offered free emotional weekly support groups for diabetes and weight loss.
An initial visit will start with an intake questionnaire. Vitals will be taken, including blood pressure, O2 saturation, heart rate, weight, height, waist circumference and body fat percentage using bio-electric impedance analysis. If patients need a blood glucose check, one will be performed with an in-house glucometer. Based on the individual client’s medical needs, a nutrition plan with behavior modification techniques will be provided with the client’s input. While they don’t make diagnoses, Moore and Yantis can order labs if needed and send their assessments to referring physicians.
“Follow up visits will provide support or change of goals, measurement of success (behavioral or statistical) and, of course, encouragement,” said Yantis. “Our intensive behavioral therapy involves getting to the root of obstacles and making meaningful goals to move forward; often times small, baby steps.”
“Through this process I was reminded that I have wisdom to share, along with kindness and compassion,” said Moore. “I’m a ham — we educate with humor, we laugh and make people feel comfortable. Once we’ve built that trust in our relationships and support groups, then we kick back and watch the healing happen.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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