The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) launched the Diabetes Initiative in 2002 as two related national programs: Advancing Diabetes Self-Management and Building Community Supports for Diabetes Care:
- Advancing Diabetes Self-Management (six project sites) was designed to demonstrate that effective multicomponent diabetes self-management programs can be delivered in primary care settings and can significantly improve patient outcomes.
- The goal of Building Community Supports for Diabetes Care (eight project sites) was to extend support for diabetes management beyond the clinical setting into patients' communities through clinic/community partnerships.
Combined, the two programs sought to assist people with diabetes to manage their own health care by providing the clinical and community support and resources they needed.
Key Activities and Results: National program staff:
- Created an ecological model of Resources and Supports for Self-Management to guide the development of the projects.
- Offered a wide array of technical assistance through a "Collaborative Learning Network" that emphasized collaboration, peer-to-peer learning and synergy among Diabetes Initiative project staff, program staff and advisors.
- Developed the Assessment of Primary Care Resources and Supports for Chronic Disease Self-Management, a tool that allows primary care sites to assess their capacity for self-management and guide quality improvement.
- Produced many reports, handbooks, tools, articles and other publications; developed and routinely updated a program website; and made many presentations at regional, national and international conferences.
Staff at the projects:
- Created models of providing care for patients with diabetes and supporting their self-management. These models typically integrated clinical care in a variety of settings and with a range of providers, with support groups, linkages to community resources, skill-building and exercise classes, social marketing and educational initiatives.
- Incorporated community health workers, also called promotoras, coaches or lay health workers, as key components of patient self-management support in many sites. These workers share the environment and language of the patients they serve and are trained to provide advocacy, support and education for people with diabetes and help them manage their condition.
- Established close working partnerships with other clinical sites, community organizations, churches and government agencies to expand access to interventions and supports that help people manage their diabetes.