Donor Story

William A. Goldback Fund: Helping Diabetics Gain Good Health

Loretta Chandler (center) learns healthy cooking tips from EVMS students Kimberly Ha (left) and Carrie Sartor.

Loretta Chandler of Chesapeake gave up her career to care for her husband with dementia. She could no longer afford health insurance. Ignoring her medical and dental care was risky for someone with a family history of diabetes. After her husband died in 2015, she resumed doctor visits but bills overwhelmed her. Dental care did not survive the cut, even though Loretta knew oral health is critical for people at risk of diabetes.

Loretta was desperate when she turned to the Chesapeake Care Clinic for help through its diabetes initiative. Founded in 1992, the clinic provides quality medical and dental care for residents who are uninsured or have limited incomes. Thanks to the clinic’s Diabetic Quality Management Program, the 57-year-old widow was able to lose weight and improve her oral and physical health - healthy steps that help delay and even prevent diabetes.

William "Bill" Goldback

In 2016, 23 percent of Chesapeake Care’s patients were diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes. That statistic prompted the Hampton Roads Community Foundation to award two grants during the year. Funding came in part from its William A. Goldback Fund, a field-of-interest fund for medical services, education, or research. William Goldback was a Norfolk business owner who had diabetes. His fund also supports other causes, like the performing arts in the region.

A three-year $81,500 community foundation grant to the clinic is helping Chesapeake residents like Loretta manage diabetes. The clinic also won a second grant of $20,000 awarded in partnership with the United Way of South Hampton Roads. It is for dental care for diabetic patients. The two diabetes-related grants are among the $403,750 in grants the Hampton Roads Community Foundation has provided Chesapeake Care in recent years.

The diabetes initiative is designed to help reduce the risk of diabetes complications. Clinic staff and volunteers assess patients and provide treatment plans, healthy-cooking classes, and health and wellness education. The initiative focuses on specific, measurable objectives modeled after American Diabetes Association guidelines.

Diabetes care “is best managed using a team approach involving both medical and dental professionals,” says Dourina Petersen, the clinic’s executive director. One clinic partner is Eastern Virginia Medical School whose students lead exercise and healthy eating classes.

Chesapeake Care is helping 282 patients diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes. Among them is Clifford Allred, 63, who is a former business owner. He has a medical history that includes congestive heart failure, stroke, and diabetes. He had delayed dental visits for years because of the cost. The dental clinic provides him with affordable cleaning and cavity filling in a professional environment.

“They’ve been tremendous,” Clifford says. “I don’t think I could have gotten better care anywhere else.”

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