Clinic partners with students to offer walking club

The weight loss and walking club will offer nutrition education to patients who do not have financial means for health care. Photo Courtesy of Kathryn Mills

Annslee Wilson

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A group of UA nutrition students has teamed up with Tuscaloosa’s Good Samaritan Clinic to begin the first student-led weight loss clinic.

The Good Samaritan Clinic is a nonprofit Christian ministry that provides free primary health care to those who cannot afford health insurance. All of Good Samaritan’s employees, including doctors and nurses, are volunteers.

Katherine Boles, a UA graduate student and registered dietitian, said the group will offer two programs to allow patients to work with a team of registered dietitians as well as with other patients.

Patients will meet with dietitians for guidance and counseling regarding diet and healthy lifestyle choices. Additionally, the patients will be encouraged to participate in the walking club. This will allow them to compete against the opposing teams to see who can walk the most each week. The participants will be equipped with pedometers, water bottles, tennis shoes and funds for healthy meals.

“We are trying to promote a healthy lifestyle for those who cannot afford it and do not have access to these resources,” 
Boles said.

Julie Sittason, executive director of the clinic, said she is excited about the new opportunities students bring to 
the clinic.

“We have been working with the nutrition students for a few years now,” she said. “They have developed several initiatives, such as the Women’s Empowerment Day. We love our students.”

The student organization will host two fundraising events this month. From 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Zoe’s Kitchen in the stadium will donate proceeds to the organization. Participants can tell the cashier they are eating in support of the Good Samaritan Clinic in order to be entered in a raffle for a $50 gas card.