This partnership is supported, in part, by a grant from the Virginia Commonwealth University Council for Community Engagement and the American Diabetes Association (1-16-ICTS-082).
The US is in the midst of an epidemic of type 2 diabetes. Approximately one in four adults aged 65+ has diabetes currently, a proportion that is projected to increase. Diabetes is a condition that requires daily self-management (i.e., dietary changes, increasing physical activity, monitoring glucose) to reduce the risk of complications. However, engaging in diabetes self-management is not cost-free – both in terms of financial costs (e.g., testing strips, co-payments, foods), and in terms of emotional costs. Diabetes-related distress and depression are common among persons with diabetes, and these psychosocial factors can impact a overall health. Moreover, many people with diabetes lack resources to manage diabetes effectively – whether those resources are access to a gym, information about nutrition, or social support around these efforts.
This is where programs like the YMCA of Greater Richmond Diabetes Control Program step in. This 12-week, group-format program is led by lay health coaches, and participants receive tangible resources in terms of physical activity (e.g., access to a personal trainer and access to the YMCA gyms), nutrition (e.g., cooking demonstrations and grocery store shopping tours), and social support (e.g., fellow peers). However, community-led programs like the Diabetes Control Program often lack the technical expertise to evaluate the impact of their health programming. This is where academic-community partnerships can bear fruit – through collaboration, we are working to identify the best practices for implementing a lay-coach led diabetes self-management program in a community setting. This work is supported by a Community Advisory Board which consists of a inter-professional group of stakeholders, including clinicians, community members, and persons with diabetes.
Presenting at our partnership at the American Diabetes Association.
Publications related to this project
Successfully managing diabetes in a community setting: Evidence from the YMCA of Greater Richmond Diabetes Control Program. Diabetes Educator 2018;44(4): 383-394.
News coverage related to this project
WCVE news story, August 2018.