Elise Mitchell: Program Development for the San Angelo Diabetes Coalition
June 13, 2018
Elise Mitchell grew up in northeastern Massachusetts in the town of Newbury. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in biology from University of Vermont in Burlington. Elise moved to San Angelo in August 2017 in order to become the Diabetes Program Development VISTA.
Elise serves at the San Angelo Diabetes Coalition where she and one other VISTA serve as Diabetes Program Development VISTAs. The coalition is a significant and new partnership between the major healthcare entities in San Angelo (Shannon, La Esperanza Clinic, and Community Medical Center). The coalition is in the process of becoming a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve community health by creating and supporting programs to decrease the incidence and complications of diabetes and address causative factors. Elise’s main responsibilities are to help develop the programs for the coalition and obtain 501(c)3 non-profit recognition for the coalition.
The San Angelo Diabetes Coalition received a generous grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas in December 2017 to support a project that would reduce incidences of chronic kidney disease. Diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney disease, so the management and education services Elise is developing will work towards effectively reducing those numbers.
Elise is very proud to be a part of the San Angelo Diabetes Coalition as it is being established in the community. She loves being a part of something that is developing so quickly. Whenever she meets someone who tells her a story about how diabetes has affected them personally and how education and management services would improve their circumstances, she is reminded of the importance of this project. Many individuals in the community have told her that the San Angelo Diabetes Coalition is something this community needs and she is proud to have a small part in making a difference in the community through the coalition’s efforts.
While working with the San Angelo Diabetes Coalition, Elise was introduced to the Texas Hunger Initiative. She has begun a side project that established a community garden at Ft. Concho Elementary School alongside THI. She is excited to see community members and elementary students come together to transform this garden from being over-grown and unkempt to now producing all kinds of healthy fruits and vegetables.
Elise chose VISTA because it was an opportunity for her to do meaningful work in her gap year before graduate school and it was an experience to live somewhere new. After her year of service ends in August, she will be moving to Boston to pursue a combined M.S. Nutrition and Public Health degree at Tufts University.