A Mission to Prevent Diabetes

By Patricia Kidd, Diabetes Prevention Specialist, EmblemHealth

In keeping with its mission to improve the overall health in the communities that it serves, EmblemHealth launched the National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and AHIP in July 2013. Conveniently held at its EmblemHealth Neighborhood Care (EHNC) locations in Harlem and Cambria Heights and adjacent to AdvantageCare Physicians (ACP) — the multispecialty physician-led practice group and partner of EmblemHealth — the program teaches members at risk for diabetes the habits and techniques necessary to avoid diabetes and lead healthier lives. A CDC-trained EmblemHealth lifestyle coach leads group sessions and uses a member-centric approach to engage participants.

EHNC is the ideal place to implement the program because of its locations in communities with a high prevalence of obesity and diabetes. When a participant enrolls, the lifestyle coaches provide telephonic reminders about upcoming classes and offer reinforcement on the week’s lesson. EmblemHealth realizes that many participants are more likely to enroll and complete the program knowing that their physician is aware that they are participating and support them. The partnership with ACP is an integral part of the success of EmblemHealth’s DPP program. As part of the support strategy, physician champions are selected at various ACP locations to help identify potential participants and engage with the lifestyle coaches on progress and positive changes made by their enrolled patients.

Offering the classes at EHNC also fosters high engagement because they are held in their community and —for some participants — right next to their doctor’s office. The facility is familiar and convenient, and EHNC offers ancillary fitness classes, such as Zumba, Tai Chi and African dance. EmblemHealth recently expanded the DPP classes to other community locations, including the District Health Center in East Harlem.

To date, EmblemHealth has offered 34 classes, enrolled 210 participants and measured the pre and post A1Cs on 111 individuals. Positive results show a reduction in A1C of 44 percent.

By offering the classes in multiple languages, as well as providing culturally competent, caring coaches and curriculum, EmblemHealth demonstrates its continued commitment to the communities it serves, breaking down health disparities and ensuring access to care for all.

To learn more about diabetes prevention program, read a recent article from AHIP, “Drop in New Diabetes Cases Shows Value of Prevention Programs.”