Diabetes Empowerment Education Program


Mountain-Pacific Quality Health invites anyone with diabetes or high blood sugar (pre-diabetes) to join them for a series of free classes that provides tips and information about how to take control of diabetes.

In this series of six classes, participants will learn about:
• How diabetes affects people—both physically and emotionally
• How to find healthy eating habits while still enjoying food
• How to be safely active all year
• How to develop skills and action plans for staying healthy
• How to be an effective member of their health care team with their doctors, health care providers, and diabetes educators

Take charge of your health and control diabetes! Play these fun and educational activities to learn more about healthy eating, diabetes, and your body!


Click on a city below to find out more information on their Diabetes Empowerment Education Program (DEEP)TM!

Billings           Anaconda            Townsend                 Lewistown                Scobey

Learn more about the Diabetes Empowerment Education Program here!

Interested in becoming a trained diabetes educator? Click here!


For more information please contact Melonie Van Dyke Phone: 406-457-5819 Email: mvandyke@mpqhf.org

or Stephanie Paugh Phone: (406) 320-2106 Email: spaugh@mpqhf.org


Central Montana Public Health Program

Fergus County


The purpose of the Central Montana Health District (CMHD) is to improve and protect the health of the population of Fergus, Golden Valley, Judith Basin, Musselshell, Petroleum and Wheatland counties by providing local government leadership and advocacy on behalf of public health issues. Central Montana Public Health Program is improving the health communities through education, health promotion and disease & injury prevention. Programs consists of Central Montana Health District (CMHD) and Fergus County Nurse’s Office (FCNO).


Fergus County Nurse’s Office (FCNO) Key Services:

  • Ensures Immunizations For Infant & Children, Pre-Teens, Adults
  • School based Immunization for Hep B, TdaP, and MMR
  • Information about Vaccines & Autism, Daycare safety Education & Resource
  • Immunization Record check in all daycares
  • Assist CMHD if needed with Communicable Disease
  • Food borne & Water borne and Dog Bite Investigations
  • Communicable Disease Prevention Education & Resource for staff and County residents Head Lice education resource
  • Coordinates the Fetal Infant Child Mortality Review Team for Fergus County
  • Jail Nursing
  • Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Local/State Level
  • Human Services Coalition
  • Board of Health Involvement
  • Throat Cultures-Strep
  • Urine alcohol and drug screening for DFS/Individuals/Court Systems
  • Fergus County Loan Closet
  • Blood Pressures on walk-in basis
  • School Health Education Resource
  • School Personnel health information
  • Travel: Immunization Resource & Education
  • Community Health Fairs
  • Local Registrar
The Montana Office of Rural Health has discovered through interviews with local Montanans that Public Health Departments are often under utilized. 
” Access to healthcare is a huge issue. The community needs knowledge of what is available. Even with the health department here in the community, people don’t know what they provide. Public Health is an underutilized resource. ” Quote from local Montanan 

Learn more about Public Health Departments near you!

Learn more about Fergus County:

Phone: 406-535-3983
Visit the Central Montana Health District page

Profile of the Week: Strong Women

Strong Women

The primary objective of the StrongWomen™ Program is to help communities nationwide to implement safe and  effective strength training programs for midlife and older women.

Women begin to show decline in muscle mass beginning at age 30 and if this condition is not reversed, women will have reduced strength and other severe consequences as they age. Women need to maintain a healthy level of muscle mass at all ages for optimal health through weight lifting two or more times per week,  but only 17.5% of women meet these recommendations. The Strong Women program, developed by Tufts University, is designed for women to increase muscle strength by strength training for 2-3 sessions per week for fourteen weeks. This strength training program is now being offered through MSU Extension offices in Montana, and the results have been inspiring.  Participation, improved functional strength and balance, and a strong sense of camaraderie and achievement are positive outcomes for Montana’s rural women. These trainings are conducted by Extension educators who have been certified to teach Strong Women programs.

About Strong Women:
The StrongWomen™  program is an evidence-based strength training program developed by the staff of  the Hancock Center at the Friedman School at Tufts University. The primary objective of the StrongWomen™ Program is to help communities nationwide to implement safe and  effective strength training programs for midlife and older women.

Who should attend trainings:
* Professional and community leaders who are working with a non-profit and are interested in the fields of public health, nutrition and exercise or wellness should attend.

* Potential program leaders should be regularly lifting weights/strength training, be in good physical health, and be able to collaborate with local agencies or organizations to provide the Strong Women program in their community.


For a list of all locations and contact information, click here

One of two bridges at Brewery Flats

Lewistown Trail System

One of two frog ponds.

The trail system of Lewistown is funded through City of Lewistown, grants (Recreation Trails Program of MT), and anonymous donors. They have partnered with a nonprofit organization, Friend of the Trails, to maintain the use and benefits of having an extensive trail system in a small community.

John Turner Environmental Education Center at Brewery Flats

The trails that run through Lewistown are provided for general leisure: walking, running, biking, or equestrian use. They allow the citizens to engage in physical activities among the fresh Montana air. A majority of the trails access beautiful areas such as wooded places, ponds, and a spring-fed creek. There is also an abundance of wildlife that can be seen along the trails such as birds, deer, and insects. The Park and Recreation Department works with Friends of the Trails, a non-profit organization, to provide year-long access to these trails. This teamwork, along with numerous volunteers, is the key factor that continues to make the trail system a success. People of all ages take part in the use of our trails, and they support the efforts put forth to keep the trails groomed and maintained as well as continual growth and improvement.

One of two bridges at Brewery Flats

The best success story that can be told about the trail systems in Lewistown is the reclamation and restoration of Brewery Flats. This plot is owned by both the city of Lewistown (58 acres) and the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (21 acres). This area of Big Spring Creek used to hold a few industrial complexes and a railroad turn-around junction. The creek was straightened to allow easier access for the trains which reduced its environmental integrity. After years of receiving grant money, planning the reclamation, and cleaning up what the industrial companies left behind, Brewery Flats became an excellent area for outdoor recreation.

A kiosk describing the restoration of Brewery Flats

The creek was also re-routed to return it to its natural state and allow wildlife to flourish and return to a healthy condition. Many hours were also put forth to create a smooth, flat trail for users of all ages to enjoy and experience a wild habitat in the backyard of Lewistown. The trail runs through the open grassy area to the north, riparian habitat in the middle, and runs adjacent to Big Spring Creek to the south. Fishing access sites were also included along with the replanting of the creek’s native species. Other leisure activities that take place in Brewery Flats consist of floating the creek and general relaxation on the benches that lie along the creek.

Another frog pond. Both are popular fishing areas for kids.

“Walk the trails of Lewistown” online at:  http://www.enjoylewistown.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49&Itemid=46

Parking behind the Yogo Inn

Download the Lewistown Trails system trail map.

For more information, contact the Director of Lewistown’s Park & Recreation Department:

Jim Daniels
MT CVD and Diabetes Prevention Program logo

Montana Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes Prevention Program

Diverse Montana Communities Deliver Lifestyle Change Program to Prevent Diabetes

Since 2008, Montana communities have been helping prevent type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease among adults at high risk through the Montana Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes Prevention Program (CVDDPP).  The 10-month CVDDPP is based upon research evidence that intensive lifestyle change can prevent or delay the development of diabetes by 58% among adults at high risk.1

Lifestyle coaches educate and motivate participants to develop and maintain healthier eating and physical activity habits, which lead to weight loss and control.  These lifestyle coaches are registered dietitians, registered nurses, cardiac rehabilitation nurses, and exercise specialists trained to deliver the CVDDPP.

Eligibility criteria for the CVDDPP are based upon risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  Adults aged 18 years and over with a Body Mass Index (BMI) ≥25 kg/m2, medical clearance from a doctor, a commitment to lifestyle change, and one of the following may participate:

  • History of pre-diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, or impaired fasting glucose
  • History of gestational diabetes or birth to a baby weighing >9 lbs
  • High blood pressure (≥130/85 mmHg or treatment)
  • Dyslipidemia (triglycerides >150 mg/dL, LDL cholesterol >130 mg/dL or treatment, or HDL cholesterol <40 mg/dL for men and <50 mg/dL for women)
  • A1C between 5.7% to 6.4%


In Montana, an estimated 185,000 adults over age 20 have pre-diabetes.3 The rate of diabetes reported by adult Montanans increased from 2.8% in 1990 to 7.0% in 2010.4  Based on these rates, it is estimated that nearly 70,000 adult Montanans have diagnosed diabetes.5  Over 8% of deaths in Montana are diabetes-related.6


Participating in the program is an effective way to slow these trends.  Over 2,000 Montanans have participated in the prevention program since it began in 2008.  Here are the average 10 month program results:

  • Weight loss of 15.4 lbs
  • Blood pressure reduction from 133/81 mmHg to 127/78 mmHg
  • LDL cholesterol reduction from 123 mg/dL to 119 mg/DL
  • HDL cholesterol increase from 49 mg/dL to 51 mg/dL
  • Fasting blood glucose reduction from 102 mg/dL to 97 mg/dL


Fourteen sites and four telehealth sites currently deliver the CVDDPP in communities designated8 as

  • Urban: Billings
  • Rural: Missoula, Kalispell, Great Falls, Helena, Butte, Bozeman
  • Frontier: Libby, Choteau, Dillon, Baker, Colstrip, Ekalaka, Forsyth,  Miles City


Go to www.mtprevention.org to contact the site near you, read news and journal articles, and learn more.  For more information, contact Diane Arave, the Montana Diabetes Project Quality Improvement Specialist in Prevention, at darave2@mt.gov or (406) 444-0593.


References and Data Sources

1. Knowler WC, Barrett-Connor E, Fowler SE, Hamman RF, Lachin JM, Walker EA, Nathan DM; Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group: Reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle intervention or metformin. N Engl J Med 2002;346:393–402.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National diabetes fact sheet: national estimates and general information on diabetes and prediabetes in the United States, 2011. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011.

3. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. National Diabetes Statistics, 2007 fact sheet. Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, 2008.

4. Montana DPHHS, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

5. U.S. Census Bureau: State and County QuickFacts.

6. Montana DPHHS, Office of Vital Statistics.

7. Vanderwood KK, Hall TO, Harwell TS, Butcher MK, Helgerson SD. The Montana Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes Prevention Workgroup. Implementing a state-based cardiovascular disease and diabetes prevention program. Diab Care 2010;33:2543–2545.


Small Steps to Health and Wealth

Designed to motivate participants to improve both their health and their finances

Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ (SSHW) is a MSU Extension program designed to motivate participants to improve both their health and their finances.  The program was developed by faculty with Rutgers Cooperative Extension and has been adapted for Montanans by the MSU Extension faculty.  Since January 2008, Teton, Deer Lodge, Cascade, Blaine, Fergus, and Richland County have offered the class in their counties to over 100 people.  The program consists of three sessions featuring:  Discussions of similarities between health and personal finance issues, suggested behavior change strategies that can be applied to both areas of life, and the impact of health on finances and finances on health.  The program concludes with a discussion of key health and wealth success factors:  Attitude, automation, awareness, knowledge, control, environment, goals, and time.  Participants set health and wealth goals and take action to achieve their goals by identifying small progress steps.  Follow-up check lists at periodic intervals help participants track progress toward their health and wealth goals.

Montana’s SSHW program has received national publicity, and the main SSHW Website on the Rutgers University server recommends interested states follow the Montana SSHW template as a guide to developing a state-specific program.


Visit the national website at: http://njaes.rutgers.edu/sshw/

Note: MSU Extension does not currently offer Small Steps to Health and Wealth. A Revised version of the program may be available this fall. Updates to follow.

Lewistown Community Garden

The Lewistown Community Garden and the Central Montana Community Cupboard have combined their efforts to create a community garden where community members can grow vegetables for their families or to donate to the Community Cupboard.

The Lewistown Community Garden (LCG) project started in January of 2012. In their first year the group built 18 raised garden beds, two of which were handicap accessible, and filled them with donated top soil. An 8′ x 12′ shed was built to house all of the donated garden tools and other items that would be useful to the gardeners. A chain link fence complete with two access gates was installed around the entire garden area. Landscape fabric was laid in the beds and wood chips were laid on top. Underground water lines were purchased and ready for burial this spring.

In the first year of the program several beds were rented and those who rented beds had great success growing their own vegetables.  The garden is strategically located in a central, well-travelled part of town so many community members stopped by and asked of questions about the garden and bed rentals. LCG advertised for the garden in the local paper their first year. This year they plan to put up advertisements in churches, with local clubs and other organizations as well as in the paper to really get the word out.

The LCG project is just getting off the ground and they hope to maintain their partnership with Central Montana Community Cupboard, the board and other interested community members to keep the project going. This years goals include renting all of the beds and creating a place where people of all ages feel encouraged to garden and produce their own vegetables. In the future LCG also hopes to include an educational component to the garden.

For more information, visit the garden’s website: http://www.enjoylewistown.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1&Itemid=2.