Scripps Health Cuts Ribbon on New Woltman Diabetes Center

Chula Vista facility focused on education, research efforts

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From left, Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas; Athena Philis Tsimikas, MD, corporate vice president for the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute; Janine Bryant, district director for U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas; San Diego philanthropist Richard Woltman; Tom Gammiere, Scripps Mercy Hospital chief executive and senior vice president; Juan Tovar, MD, Scripps Mercy Hospital medical director for quality and performance improvement careline; and Michael Sise, MD, Scripps Mercy Hospital chief of staff.

Chula Vista facility focused on education, research efforts

Political and business officials joined Scripps Health leaders Thursday to cut the ribbon on the Woltman Family Diabetes Care and Prevention Center, which houses education and research efforts focusing on Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes patients and others at risk of developing the disease.


About 60 people attended the event early in the evening at the 1,100-square-foot center, which is located at 450 4th Ave., in Chula Vista. Guests included San Diego philanthropist Richard Woltman and his family, Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas and representatives from the offices of U.S. Representative Juan Vargas and state Sen. Ben Hueso.


“We are grateful to the Woltman family for making this new center possible,” said Athena Philis-Tsimikas, MD, corporate vice president for the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute. “The services and programs that we offer from this space serve hundreds of South County patients and are a valuable asset to a population that face higher risks developing diabetes and prediabetes.”


The center was made possible by a generous $700,000 donation from Woltman.


“My family and I are very pleased to be able to support the important diabetes care and research being done at Scripps,” Woltman said. “We know that the services delivered through the center will improve the lives of patients and the overall health of the community.


Nearly 4 million Californians have been diagnosed with diabetes and 46 percent of the state’s adults have prediabetes, making them at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes and an increased risk for developing heart disease. In Chula Vista, about 26,000 people have diabetes.


A dozen nurses and staff members work at the Woltman Family Diabetes Care and Prevention Center, which includes a large education classroom, two outpatient consultation rooms and office space spread over the first and fourth floors.


Regularly scheduled free classes at the center for people with diabetes or at risk of developing the disease cover a range of topics including diet and nutrition, weight loss, exercise, blood sugar monitoring and control, and diabetes prevention.


Center services and programs include:


• An inpatient team of nurses who work directly with physicians and high-risk patients admitted to Scripps Mercy Hospital Chula Vista to better manage their blood glucose levels during hospital stays. These nurses are leading a study that uses wireless technology to continuously monitor blood sugar readings.

• Certified diabetes educators who provide nutrition and medication adjustment support to patients in one-on-one and group consultations.

• Specially trained non-clinical peer educators who conduct diabetes self-management classes with patients.


The center also is home to Scripps’ portion of a countywide Diabetes Prevention Program aimed at reducing the risk for developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent in the region. The program, part of a national effort led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is funded through a special grant and provides free services in both English and Spanish.


The effort is based on research from the CDC that showed people with prediabetes who lose 5 to 7 percent of their body weight (10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person) reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. Mentored by a trained diabetes educator, participants learn the skills they need to make impactful and long-lasting lifestyle changes.


Prediabetes risk factors include being 45 years of age or older, being overweight, having a family history of type 2 diabetes, and having limited physical activity. Hispanic/Latino Americans, African Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders and some Asian Americans are also at particularly high risk for developing the disease.


Learn more about Scripps Health, a nonprofit integrated health system in San Diego, Calif.

Media Contact

Keith Darce
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