Regenia Henry

The Diabetes Center at Cookeville Regional Merits ADA Recognition

Program Makes a Real Difference for Patients Like Regenia Henry

Learning to deal with a chronic disease like diabetes can be a whole lot easier — and is often more successful — when you get the right kind of support. Fortunately, that support is available to patients in the Upper Cumberland through The Diabetes Center at Cookeville Regional. 


In fact, the Diabetes Center recently earned the prestigious American Diabetes Association Education Recognition Certificate for quality diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) service. This designation means that the ADA has found that Cookeville Regional offers the type of high-quality education that is an essential component of effective diabetes treatment.


That type of education and support is especially important for patients in Tennessee.


“Tennessee is number five in the country for the rate of diabetes,” said Cookeville Regional Chief Nursing Officer Scott Lethi, RN. “About 13% of Tennessee’s population has diabetes. Nationally it’s 8 to 9%. Thirteen percent doesn’t sound very high, but if you look at 8% versus 13%, we’re 50% higher than the national average.”


Regenia Henry of Cookeville is one patient who was recently helped by the Diabetes Center’s educational program. In January 2018, at nearly 300 lbs., she made a New Year’s resolution to do something about her weight. 


She started with a small, weekly walk and worked up to three one-mile walks a week. 


“After I started losing weight and feeling more energy, I was still getting sleepy at work, so I realized there’s probably a sugar problem going on,” said Henry. “The first thing I did was cut out all soft drinks.”


Despite her efforts, a workplace health fair in April confirmed that Henry was diabetic with an A1C of 11.9% — much higher than the 6.5-7% that is considered a healthy level — and blood glucose levels ranging as high as 315. Her doctor placed her on a medication for diabetes and enrolled her in the Diabetes Center program.


The program offers individual and group classes and utilizes a team approach in developing an individualized plan for each participant. 


“The ADA outlines seven self-care behaviors — diet, activity, monitoring, taking medication, problem solving, stress management and reducing risks for complications, so our patients set goals related to these behaviors,” said Diabetes Center Director Kim Mayberry, RN. “Every time they come back, we ask them about those goals, and if they’re not meeting them, then we troubleshoot to find out what we can do to meet them.”


The program also puts a great deal of emphasis on teaching the patient how to solve some of the practical problems they may face from day to day.

“For instance, I’m on a pump and I have supplies, but I’m two or three hours from home or in another state, and I forgot my reservoirs. How can I fix that problem?” said Mayberry. 


Henry especially enjoyed the group class offered at the center. She learned about all of the different aspects of diabetes management, including two that were especially important for her — managing her stress levels and eating more nutritiously.


“Before starting the class, all I knew was to stop the sugar. I was afraid,” said Henry. “The class has helped me learn to incorporate vegetables and fruits, and I’ve learned how to make my own smoothies and things like that.”


Within three months of starting the program, Henry’s A1C level was down to 5.9%, and she ultimately got it down to 5.2% and lost a total of 69 lbs. She was able to stop taking her diabetes medications and no longer has to check her blood glucose levels daily. 


“She’s not just down to goal — she’s in the normal range,” said Mayberry. 


“It’s a great program,” said Henry. “I don’t know where else I would have gotten the education. I don’t think I could have gotten all of that just online. It was given to me in the right order and in a way that helped me incorporate it into my life.”


The Diabetes Center program does require a physician referral. Some insurance plans, including Medicare, recognize the benefits of diabetes self-management training and may pay a percentage, excluding copays and deductibles. The Diabetes Center will be glad to check your insurance coverage.


For more information about a referral to the Diabetes Center, please call (931) 783-2927 or visit