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Diabetes Prevention Programming in Free and Charitable Clinics

Diabetes Prevention Programming in Free and Charitable Clinics

Diabetes is a serious chronic illness thatimpacts more than 30 million Americans and is the seventh leading cause of death, with type 2 diabetes accounting for approximately 95 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.

Photo by Matthew McDermott

Prediabetes is a preventable health condition that significantly increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Estimates show that 86 million people in the United States – or over 1 in 3 adults – have prediabetes, but less than ten percent are aware of their condition.

Americares is working to address prediabetes among those served by free and charitable clinics to increase the identification of prediabetes, reduce health disparities and improve health-related outcomes for a highly vulnerable population. Through our free and charitable clinic partners, we are working to promote and support the implementation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), an evidence-based lifestyle change intervention. The DPP involves 16 sessions over the course of a year, and individual goals of 5-7% weight loss and 150 minutes of physical activity per week. According to a CDC study, the program results in a 58% reduction in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Read below to see descriptions of Americares three DPP-focused programs and to find resources on diabetes prevention.

Initial DPP Pilot and Research Study: Americares Transforming Prediabetes Care Initiative

DPP Table1

In 2014, Americares, in partnership with Loyola University of Chicago, launched its initial DPP pilot program and research study in five free and charitable clinics to evaluate the feasibility of the DPP in this setting and with an uninsured patient population. The clinics that participated in this research study are: Center for Healthy Hearts (VA), Grace Medical Home (FL), Greenville Free Medical Clinic (SC), the Social Welfare Board (MO) and St. Mary’s Health Wagon (VA). This program was implemented with the support of the American Medical Association (AMA) and is aligned with the AMA’s strategic focus on improving health outcomes, which aims to reduce the incidence of prediabetes in U.S. patients. There were 247 participants who averaged 118 minutes of physical activity per week and 3.5% weight loss over the course of the year-long program. In addition to directly impacting the health of these patients, the study demonstrated that the DPP is feasible and effective in free and charitable clinics and it provided the basis for Americares’ other diabetes prevention programs. 

Click here to read more about the program and its preliminary outcomes. 

DPP Healthy Food Integration Research Study

DPP Table 2

In 2017, Americares, Loyola University of Chicago, and Feeding America embarked on the DPP Healthy Food Integration Research Study to incorporate continued access to free healthy food into the DPP. The study aimed to provide access to healthy food, which past DPP participants identified as a significant barrier to program adherence. Two clinics from Americares initial study were selected to take part in the DPP Healthy Food Integration Research Study: Greenville Free Medical Clinic (SC) and Grace Medical Home (FL). The two clinics are working closely with a local food bank partner to provide each participant a box of healthy food at all DPP sessions to help improve food security and access. The program, which enrolled 75 participants, is ongoing and will end in April 2019, at which point results will be posted. 

Click here to read more about the program and its outcomes. 

Post-Harvey Online Diabetes Prevention Program

DPP Table 3

Americares and Omada Health launched the Post-Harvey Online Diabetes Prevention Program in 2018 to enable low-income people affected by Hurricane Harvey an opportunity to participate in the DPP via an online module. Americares hopes to remove the barrier of transportation for these in-need patients so that they can benefit from the DPP. Omada’s online platform allows participants to engage with the DPP sessions and resources where and when they like, without having to consider things like transportation costs and scheduling conflicts. Research has shown that technology-based programs are desired and effective in low-income communities, which often bear the burden of chronic diseases like diabetes. Participants in this project were recruited by five partner clinics in the Houston area: The Agape Clinic, Caring Place Clinic, Ibn Sina Foundation, San Jose Clinic, and TOMAGWA. Americares targeted clinics in the Houston and Dallas areas because natural disasters exacerbate existing barriers to health by cutting off access to infrastructure, healthcare, and food. Hurricane Harvey, which devastated regions throughout Texas in August 2017, was no exception. The program launched June 1, 2018 with the goal of enrolling 250 participants. As of October 1, 2018, 186 participants were registered. 

Click here to read more about the program and its outcomes. 

Additional Resources

Click here to find additional resources on diabetes prevention and Americares’ diabetes prevention programs.

If you have any questions about Americares diabetes prevention programs, please feel free to reach out to Taylor Joyner