Salem Volunteers Present Public Diabetes Program

Volunteers from four Adventist churches in the Salem, Ore., area recently conducted a Wellspring diabetes program for the public at the Adventist Community Services Center coordinated by Merlin Schreiner, an Adventist layman.

Schreiner and his wife, Lynda, had attended a conference leadership program a year earlier where they saw a presentation for a particular health program, so they became interested in doing one at the church. Their pastor mentioned that he was familiar with the Wellspring diabetes program created by the Lifestyle Center of America (LCA) and urged them to look into it.

As a result, one of the church members who had diabetes purchased the Wellspring program for himself. After this member’s health greatly improved, he told Schreiner and the pastor how well it worked, and arrangements were made for the church to go ahead with the program.

Wellspring is a community-based version of the LCA's 19-day program for people with type-2 diabetes. Wellspring makes it easy for anyone, whether a health care professional or not, to present the program in the community by providing a DVD presentation, a coordinator manual, workbooks and related participant materials.

After seeing publicity about the program in the newspaper and church bulletins, seven people with diabetes joined. Schreiner, along with Ed Dysinger, who has a public health degree, led the programs, and Jennifer Dysinger led the cooking demonstrations. A nurse was also available to answer specific health questions.

“People had really good results from following the program,” Schreiner said. “However, not everybody was gung-ho from the very first.

“One gentleman was very obese, had high cholesterol and glucose levels, and couldn’t exercise because his knees hurt so bad. We talked him into trying to increase his water intake, and almost immediately he felt better and began to exercise. Now he exercises about two hours every day. He also lost 15 pounds and cut his meds in half.”

Another participant had just learned from his doctor that he had diabetes. He saw the ad for the program in his church bulletin and signed up right away because he did not want to have to start taking medications.

“Some of these folks had tried a lot of different programs," Schreiner explained. "One came in very skeptical and didn’t speak up at first. As he began to improve, he joined in more and at graduation gave an enthusiastic talk."

Schreiner continued, “The DVD and handbook really made this program easy to do. In fact, we enjoyed the reward of seeing folks get so much better, and with the help of some of the participants, we plan to put on another program beginning Sept. 7.”

Those interested in coordinating a Wellspring diabetes program may contact the Lifestyle Center of America at (800) 596-5480 or visit

September 01, 2004 / Oregon Conference