MOVE! moves online to keep the weight loss rolling - Milwaukee VA Medical Center
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Milwaukee VA Medical Center


MOVE! moves online to keep the weight loss rolling

Shauna Gearhart

Shauna Gearhart, a social worker with the Milwaukee VA Medical Center, conducts a meeting via VA Video Connect, as part of the MOVE! program. MOVE! is offering its classes and programs online due to restrictions on in-person meetings brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

By David Walter
Friday, June 26, 2020

The MOVE! program is on the move – online.

The weight management program for Veterans who receive their care through the Milwaukee VA and its affiliated Community Based Outpatient Clinics is now being offered virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Historically, we have offered a wide variety of programs and support groups, along with cooking classes, but when COVID-19 hit, those were put on hold,” said Kristen Bertram, MOVE! program coordinator.

But this month, the program was able to shift its group sessions to online delivery via VVC, the VA’s video connect platform.

The orientation session, the full 16 MOVE groups and the MOVE Forward support groups are now available virtually, Bertram said.

“The Veteran feedback has been good so far, and the technology has been easier to use than expected – we’re excited about that,” Bertram said.

Kelsey Francois, a registered dietitian at the Green Bay clinic leading one of the groups online, agreed.

“So far the technology has worked well,” she said, noting that the Veterans will often chat online before class starts to offer support to one another and do the same after class – something that wasn’t always possible during the in-person sessions.

“It’s been really effective,” Francois said. “They are continuing to lose weight.”

Moving to online delivery has helped the program connect with some Veterans unable to come to a clinic, Bertram said.

“We also offer phone care, so people who don’t have the technology or choose not to (connect via VVC), can do it via phone.”

Cooking classes previously offered in person will be moving online in the near future, Bertram said. Meanwhile, cooking resources and recipes are available at The VA also has a YouTube channel, Healthy Teaching Kitchen, featuring cooking classes.

In operation since 2006, MOVE! helps Veterans meet their weight-loss goals through healthy eating and exercise, Bertram said.

Veterans interested in taking part can contact their dietitian or health care provider. An online questionnaire, known as MOVE! 11, is available at to help Veterans get started.

For more information, call the Milwaukee VA at 414-384-2000, ext. 47387.


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