The Alliance for African American Health in Central Texas & UT Austin School of Nursing Discuss A Better Me Wellness Program

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July 2, 2020
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African American Mental Health and Wellness (AMEN) team is collaborating with KAZI FM 88.7 in producing a radio series to highlight the importance of addressing mental health and physical wellness in the African American community. The monthly series will feature AMEN team members from the School of Nursing, leaders from Mt. Zion Baptist and Rehoboth Baptist churches, and community organizations who provide mental health resources and support in Travis county.

Episode 9: The Alliance for African American Health in Central Texas & UT Austin School of Nursing Discuss A Better Me Wellness Program

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A Better Me Health and Wellness Program was started in 2016 to help African American community members who wanted to make a lifestyle change to reduce risk factors for developing chronic diseases or better manage chronic diseases they were already experiencing. The program would also provide individual and group educational support and accountability coaching.

Co-moderators Shannon W. Jones and Jacki Hecht, interviewed Marva Overton, Executive Director of the Alliance for African American Health in Central Texas and A Better Me Program and Thelma Williams, a player participating in A Better Me Program to discuss the program and participant experience.  

A Better Me Program focuses on helping individuals through accountability. The concept is similar to sports teams using terms such as, players, coaches and managers. Players are the individuals who want to make lifestyle changes, the coaches are the accountability partners and the managers supervise a group of coaches. A Better Program also works to identify environmental or social policy changes to address as a group.

Thelma Williams, A Better Me Program participant, says she joined the program to become a “better eater and preparer of food that would allow her to maintain her health”. Some of the benefits she described include being able to meet new people (camaraderie), discuss and share new recipes and ways of eating, and listen to other’s testimonies on how they have prevailed.

Shannon Jones shared why programs like this are so important in the African American community. Shannon spoke about the innovativeness and creativity of this program and how it is uniquely positioned to approach communities of color by engaging people by supporting one another. It is a one-on-one personal approach that incentivizes and encourages people to receive support and share their experience with their coach, family and others in the program. 

Listen to the podcast to hear more about Thelma’s weight loss journey, the beneficial and positive impact from her coach, Barbara Jackson-Poe, and what motivated her to achieve success. Marva also shares her insights about the program’s effectiveness and achievements.

To apply to A Better Me Program (Player, Coach, Manager), please complete the A Better Me Wellness Program Application.

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