Sobha Kollipara, MD
Kaiser Kids Diabetes Camp and KP High-Five to Health Program
“When you are trying to teach children, you have to be innovative and constantly evolving. I’m like a teenager in that respect — I like new ideas.”
Dr. Kollipara and her colleagues have always taken good care of the 500 pediatric members in the Sacramento area who have type 1 diabetes. She knew, however, that teaching children how to cope with and manage diabetes could be more effective if offered in a non-medical setting where the children could interact with each other. So, in 2001 Dr. Kollipara recruited volunteers and organized the first Kaiser Kids Diabetes Camp. She raised funds from various sources, including the sale of calendars and greeting cards featuring artwork by the children in the Diabetes Clinic.
As a result, KP members ages 10-17 with type 1 diabetes could attend the camp for just a $10 fee. Every summer since then, 60 to 70 pre-teens and teens have participated in the weekend program, which fosters sharing, camaraderie and independence, while providing four educational sessions on diabetes management. Not only does the program improve their understanding and acceptance of diabetes, as Dr. Kollipara relates, “The kids see their medical providers at play, in our baseball caps and shorts, which makes our interactions with them back at the office easier and more personal.”
To address another need, in 2003 Dr. Kollipara launched the High-Five to Health program to identify the increasing number of children at risk for type 2 diabetes and to teach them the importance of eating better and being more active. The program, which involves seven weekly classes, is changing lifestyle habits and reducing the participants’ risk, as measured by reductions in insulin resistance and cholesterol levels.