MAY 11, 2017 BY MOLLY SKUBAK
Patient Partner News: Julie Tice
Julie Tice had struggled with her weight for most of her adult life and was eventually diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. When she realized she could become dependent on insulin, Julie knew it was time for a change. She decided to undergo gastric bypass surgery.
After the surgery, Julie began eating healthier and exercising daily. Seeing Julie’s commitment to her new lifestyle, Dr. Cynthia Chuang, PaTH’s site principal investigator for Penn State, suggested Julie join PaTH’s Healthy Lifestyles and Weight cohort as a patient partner.
"She was very impressed with the work I was doing,” says Julie. “She thought I would have a good perspective."
As a PaTH Patient Partner, Julie participates in monthly calls and regular in-person meetings with the cohort’s researchers, clinicians, informatics experts, and patient partners.
"It’s cool to have everybody sitting at the table," says Julie. "Plus, I love being able to talk to people and engage with people who know so much."
Together they discuss how data for the cohort can best be collected, how it will be used, and how it will be shared between PaTH sites. For example, survey data focus on assessing issues related to healthy lifestyles or weight management, such as how active participants are or what weight management approaches they have tried in the past.
"I’ve also at times had to give input on what I, as a patient, want to know and what I’m comfortable sharing when they’re circulating surveys," says Julie. "Like what information we need to be sensitive to and what the drawbacks might be to collecting this data."
Julie is excited to help others through her work with the cohort.
"You have the opportunity to give some input on where research should go and what patients are most concerned with,” she says. “The research being done may benefit me or it may not, but it will benefit someone down the line."
Along with the Healthy Lifestyles and Weight cohort, Julie is also involved in PaTH’s PaTH to Health: Diabetes study and the PCORnet Bariatric Study. She finds that her participation helps her stay on track with her own goals.
"It’s kind of a personal incentive to keep working on my program because it keeps you energized and excited about it. It gives you a purpose to keep going."
It’s clear this incentive is working for Julie. Since her gastric bypass surgery, she has maintained a healthy lifestyle and has run over a dozen races, the longest being the Hershey Half Marathon.
To learn more about the Healthy Lifestyles and Weight Cohort or the PaTH to Health: Diabetes study, visit pathnetwork.org/Research.
|Did you know….|
|Julie and her husband are house-parents to 12 high-school-aged girls! They work for the Milton Hershey School, which offers free schooling to more than 2,000 students in need. As part of the program, students coming from unstable homes live with the school’s house-parents. Julie and her husband have been acting as house-parents to high-school girls for seven years, and Julie says she still keeps in touch with many of her past "daughters." Julie and her husband also have their own son and daughter.|