Chaves County Extension Service in Roswell, New Mexico has become the first organization to receive full recognition status from the CDC as part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program.
This means that the organization has met all of the requirements described in the CDC standards for recognition over the first 24 months of delivering the National DPP lifestyle change program. CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation established the recognition program to assure that the lifestyle change program is delivered effectively and consistently across all participating sites.
The Extension Service provides people in Chaves County, a rural area in Southeastern New Mexico, with practical, research-based knowledge and programs to improve their quality of life. Extension Service Lifestyle Coach Susan Dade RD, LD, CDE completed DTTAC Lifestyle Coach Training in December 2011 in Santa Fe, NM. Susan started her first group in January 2012 and is now on her third cohort.
The New Mexico Department of Health Diabetes Prevention and Control Program provides technical assistance and support to sites around the state that are offering the program, including Chaves County Extension Service. For example, they host monthly technical assistance calls to allow sites to share experiences and resources.
According to Anna Hargreaves with the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program, a number of factors have contributed to the program’s success. “The Extension Service has turned out to be a good delivery venue for the National DPP lifestyle change program in our state. They have connections in the community and with referrers. They also were already offering classes to diabetes patients, which allowed for cross-referrals. If people with prediabetes inquired about that program they were referred to the National DPP and vice versa.”
Tip for best practice: The state department of health can host regular TA calls with organizations delivering the lifestyle change program in a state as an efficient way to problem-solve around implementation issues and share best practices.
“Also Susan Dade is a fabulous Lifestyle Coach, with long history in diabetes education,” Hargreaves said. “She is passionate about her work and was well-trained by DTTAC. She stays connected with the other Lifestyle Coaches she met in the 2-day DTTAC Lifestyle Coach Training, and the group continues to support one another.”
We spoke with Susan Dade over the phone to find out more about her experience delivering the lifestyle change program and the important role the Lifestyle Coach plays in program success:
What tips do you have for retaining participants in the program?
“I try to make the class fun and interesting so they want to come back. I focus on what’s important to them and I make sure they’ve got their head in the game, because if their head is not in the game then it’s not going to be a positive experience for them and they’re not going to learn anything. I try to present the information to them in a positive, humorous, digestible way. We laugh, we have fun, and I don’t judge them. I let them know that I care about them, I’m here to help them, and I’m available any time. If I don’t know the answer to something I will find out for them. I love what I do and I think that comes across to my participants.”
What strategies does your organization use to recruit participants for your program?
“We contacted health care providers who see a lot of patients with prediabetes and obesity, such as general practitioners and internists, and sent them a flier with information about the lifestyle change program to let them know that they could refer patients with prediabetes to our program. In the first year of our program we had about 90% of our participants come from health care provider referrals. In the second year we had about 50% from referrals, and in this third year about 25% from referrals.
In addition to partnering with health care providers, we also had an article in the newspaper about our program. We gave all of the information to the newspaper and the newspaper wrote the story.
When recruiting participants it’s good to “over-recruit” slightly because you often lose people in the beginning of the program. Last year we started with 16 participants at the beginning and had 13 that stuck with it until the end.”
What advice do you have for other Lifestyle Coaches at organizations seeking full CDC recognition for this program?
“In order to be successful, you need to be passionate about helping people, and it really helps to have a supportive team behind you. For example, we have one person who handles submitting the data to CDC, and another person who helps with other aspects of the program, including reaching out to physicians and local media."
Tip for best practice: The Chaves County Extension Service has a separate staff person to do the data entry needed for CDC recognition reporting. The Lifestyle Coach collects the data on a tracking sheet and provides it to that staff person, so that she does not have to deal with that step herself.
"Most important, remind yourself and your participants that this program is about THEIR LIFESTYLE, it’s not a quick fix.”
April 2, 2014
Many participants in the lifestyle change program face the challenge of how to maintain their physical activity goal during the winter months. What should you say to a participant who is facing this challenge?