BayCare Teams Up with the YMCA for Diabetes Prevention

September 27, 2018

Shared Goal to Help Those at Risk of Developing Diabetes

CLEARWATER, Fla., (September 27, 2018)—With a shared goal of improving the health of the Tampa Bay community, BayCare Health System and the Tampa Bay Area YMCA’s have teamed up in an effort to prevent diabetes. 

Through a partnership, YMCA and BayCare will provide need-based scholarships to make it possible for individuals diagnosed with pre-diabetes or found to be at risk for the development of Type 2 diabetes to participate in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.

The YMCA’s program is a 12-month, group-based program with a focus on healthy eating, increased physical activity, reducing stress and problem solving. In a classroom setting, a trained lifestyle coach facilitates a small group of participants over the course of 16 one-hour sessions. After the initial 16 weeks, participants meet biweekly and then monthly to help maintain their progress.

“More than a third of U.S. adults have prediabetes and most aren’t even aware,” said Chrisoula Kiriazis, MD, BayCare Medical Group physician and medical director for BayCare’s diabetes services. “By adopting a healthier lifestyle with a program like the one the YMCA offers, adults with prediabetes can halt the onset of Type 2 diabetes with all of its potential complications. We are excited to partner with the YMCA to make this proven Diabetes Prevention Program more accessible to those in our community who need it.”

As part of its comprehensive diabetes care services, BayCare runs diabetes screening events, and the YMCA provides a diabetes prevention program. This partnership joins the diabetes prevention efforts of both BayCare and the YMCA to ensure people in need of help have the opportunity to receive it.

“As health care evolves, partnerships between community-based organizations and health systems, like the YMCA and BayCare, will play a key role in chronic disease prevention, increasing access to services that are outside of a traditional clinical environment,” said Shannon Sprowls, Vice President of Healthy Living, YMCA of the Suncoast. “Preventing Type 2 diabetes is a great example of this process in action. Once you know your risk for prediabetes, programs like the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program can help change behaviors and decrease chances of developing the disease.”  

According to the Centers for Disease Controls (CDC), more than 100 million U.S. adults are living with diabetes or prediabetes. Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2015, and it increases the risk of serious health complications including premature death, vision loss, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and amputations.

The YMCA’s program is a covered benefit through many health insurance providers, including Medicare. Those without insurance or those whose insurance does not cover this program may qualify for a YMCA and/or BayCare needs-based scholarship. 

The Tampa Bay Area YMCAs include YMCA of the Suncoast, YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg and Tampa Metropolitan YMCA serving Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties.

About BayCare
BayCare is a leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 15 hospitals and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and west central Florida regions. Inpatient and outpatient services include acute care, primary care, imaging, laboratory, behavioral health, home care, and wellness. Our mission is to improve the health of all we serve through community-owned health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care. For more information, visit

About the YMCA
As the leading non-profit committed to strengthening the community, the Y is a cause-driven, charitable organization that stands for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. We serve more than 329,000 men, women and children through 25 locations in Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough, Citrus and Hernando counties. For more information, please visit