Alexis Jones would describe herself as a 'change agent.' A woman living with diabetes, she’s watched many of her own family members struggle with the disease over the years. Now, she’s on a mission to educate her community about the risks of the chronic condition that impacts nearly 60% of adults in her hometown of Stockton, California. In December 2021, the mom of six graduated with a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree and was one of the first students to finish a new education program – a sub-specialization in Diabetes Care and Management – created by the University of the Pacific (Pacific) with support from Abbott’s philanthropic foundation the Abbott Fund. Jones was also one of the first to graduate as an Abbott Fund Scholar, receiving a Fund scholarship for her education. For her and many of her classmates, their motivation starts with building health equity. 'The number of African American women who are licensed clinical social workers is extremely low, and I hope to change that statistic by being a role model for others,' said Jones. 'My kids are my motivation. It means everything to me for them to see me obtaining my masters and showing them that anything is possible.' As Jones can attest, diabetes can be hard to manage, and often requires a lot of support. Many communities lack the proper resources, funding and health providers to meet the need for this specialized type of care. Jones sees herself serving an important role – a bridge to help build trust with people living with this challenging chronic condition. 'As a Black woman with diabetes, it really gives me an advantage to work with people in the community with diabetes,' Jones said. 'I actually understand when patients tell me 'I don't want to take my blood sugar at work.' I'm able to identify the stigma through lived experiences.