Successfully Managing Diabetes in a Community Setting: Evidence From the YMCA of Greater Richmond Diabetes Control Program
© 2018 The Author(s). Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe how a community-academic partnership developed and implemented a shared goal of evaluating the impact of a large community-based diabetes self-management program on diabetes care and mental health outcomes. Methods: Data came from the YMCA of Greater Richmond Diabetes Control Program (DCP), a 12-week, group-format self-management program led by lay health coaches. Adults with type 2 diabetes (N = 312) completed baseline assessments of sociodemographic characteristics, diabetes history, and mental health. Four outcomes were assessed pre- and post-DCP on 141 participants who completed the program: hemoglobin A1C (A1C), weight, depressive symptoms (Patient Health Questionnaire–8), and glucose monitoring. The team worked with a Community Advisory Board throughout the research process. Results: The DCP had wide geographic reach, including lower-income neighborhoods. The average age of the participants was 53.9 years, 71.4% were female, and 69% were African American. During the DCP, A1C declined from 8.4% to 7.6% (P <.001), but weight was unchanged (229.2 vs 227.9, P <.282). During the DCP, the proportion of participants with clinically significant depressive symptoms declined from 32.4% to 15.5% (P <.001), and frequency of glucose monitoring significantly increased. Conclusions: The YMCA of Greater Richmond DCP has wide reach into underserved populations throughout the metropolitan area. This program is effective at improving diabetes self-management and mental health. Findings have implications for supporting academic-community partnerships to address diabetes disparities.