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Rosie Miklavcic is changing lives

Article courtesy of Hannah Brown, The State Journal

Even after retiring from 33 years in home health care, Rosie Miklavcic is still helping people better their health.

Miklavcic was the director of the Home Health Agency for the Franklin County Health Department for 23 years. From 2007 to 2013, she was the public health chief nurse for the Kentucky Department of Public Health.

“When I did home care nursing, I loved patient care,” Miklavcic said. “Then I got into administration and I loved helping employees grow and develop.”

Miklavcic retired in 2013 and, since then, has been involved with the Frankfort YMCA. As a member of the board in 2015, she was asked if she would be interested in getting certified as a lifestyle coach and start a diabetes prevention program.

“I like a good challenge,” she said. “I’m not one to sit around. After you’ve lived a fast-paced lifestyle, it’s hard to slow down.

“This became a good fit for me. I love the Y.”

Miklavcic also teaches healthy-living classes at state government worksites.

Last year, she was approached again and asked if she would get certified as a Livestrong coach at the YMCA, which she was excited to do.

Miklavcic is married to Frank Miklavcic. They have three children, Greg, Laura Tomlin and Ann Marie Miklavcic, and six grandchildren.

State Journal: Describe the Livestrong program?

Miklavcic: Livestrong is a support group that helps people get back the strength they had before their cancer diagnoses.

We started it in March 2018. It’s a 12-week session. We hope to have three to four sessions a year.

It doesn’t matter when you were diagnosed or how long ago or what kind of cancer you have. It could be someone who just finished their chemo. It’s free and participants get a free individual or family membership to the Y. They can come anytime and take classes.

The classes are twice a week, 1:30 to 3 p.m. Monday and Wednesday. The next session starts Jan. 28. Those interested can contact the Y for an intake interview.

I teach it along with (Frankfort YMCA Sports and Healthy Living Director) Marcus McAlpin. We’re looking to add an evening class.

Livestrong partnered with the YMCA of USA in 2007. Since then, 6,620 people have gone through the program. It’s been offered in 704 communities.

SJ: How does it make you feel to be able to help people get their strength back after battling cancer?

Miklavcic: Seeing people get stronger is probably the best gratification you can get.

The type of nursing I did was in home care. In home care, people are trying to get well. It was a good fit because people who are participating in the program are motivated to get stronger and get better. To see that happen is very rewarding.

SJ: Describe the diabetes program?

Miklavcic: The diabetes program is a small setting. It focuses on weight loss and physical activity. Participants have two goals to achieve — a 7 percent weight loss and build up to 150 minutes of physical activity a week.

The program is fun and people learn a lot. Folks learn how to read a food label and we talk about portion control and behavior. It’s about behavior change.

The program is yearlong. Classes are held weekly for 16 weeks. Then, every two weeks after that for an hour. The curriculum is evidence-based through CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and Y USA.

The next session begins at 5 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Prevention Park YMCA in Frankfort.

SJ: How have the classes taken off?

Miklavcic: The very first Diabetes Prevention Program class was full. I think there’s a movement toward wellness and people are more aware of how important their lifestyles are and what it means to their health.

We might have one person drop out. It’s a big commitment. Maybe some people don’t meet the 7 percent goal but some do 3 or 5 percent. Just the knowledge and the awareness they receive is invaluable. Participants talk it up and tell other people.

SJ: Has there been a lot of success with the program?

Miklavcic: People have lost 20-25 pounds. Their A1C (glycated hemoglobin) levels have come down. We save one pre-diabetic at a time.

SJ: When you’re not working at the Y, what do you like to do?

Miklavcic: I have six grandkids. I love going to their activities. I like to run and I’m a cyclist.

I’ve done a 100-mile bike ride. I did 160 miles in a one-day race. It was Ride Across Indiana. I finished and lived to tell about it.

I do 5Ks and 10Ks. I’m doing a half marathon in April — the Filly Women’s Half Marathon in Louisville.

I did a marathon in 2005 in Chicago. It was awesome. My daughter and I did it. The training was brutal but we loved it.