Patient Spotlight: Joyce Wiggins

Meet Joyce. Joyce is a mother and grandmother. With a family history of diabetes, Joyce has struggled to keep her hemoglobin A1c level down over the years. She became a patient of Alliance Medical Ministry in 2006, and sees Dr. Maggie Burkhead.

Now, Joyce is happy to report that she has successfully lowered her hemoglobin A1c and is off all medication. did she do it?

"Diet and exercise! I love learning, and when I found out Alliance had a cooking class and nutrition program, I wanted to get involved."

Cooking Matters @ Alliance is one of the wellness programs offered that educates patients on cooking, meal planning, and shopping for healthy foods on a budget.

"Cooking Matters made me more conscious of how I cook with vegetables and how I selected them. I have such a sweet tooth, but now I snack on peppers instead of candy. I have a love affair going on with veggies! After the class, I had a feeling of wanting to plant my own."

That's when Joyce learned about Seed to Supper, a five-week garden education program in partnership with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. Volunteer Master Gardeners teach patients how to grow their own vegetables, offering education around soil testing, pest control, and garden scheduling. 

At the end of the program, Joyce "adopted a box" in the Alliance Community Garden. "The whole summer, I've been getting veggies. Tomaties, eggplant, peppers, cucumbers, and okra. I'm roasting them, steaming them, and eating them raw."

What's up next for Joyce?

Joyce is passing along what she has learned to others. She is also helping teach a Cooking Matters Class! She has been very busy planning her fall garden. 

"If I didn't have Alliance, I'd probably be in the Emergency Room. The staff is compassionate, which helps people feel welcome and open up. It really means so much to have access to these programs through my doctor's office. If you change your nutrition habits, you can make a difference in your health."