Diabetes is a community issue: The critical elements of a successful outreach and education model on the U.S.-Mexico border

Maia Ingram, Gwen Gallegos, Jo Jean Elenes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Background Diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions on the U.S.- Mexico Border, and culturally competent diabetes education is not available in many communities. Context People with diabetes often do not have access to regular medical care, cannot afford medication, and lack the community infrastructure that supports self-management practices. Self-management education and support have great potential to impact diabetes control in this environment. Methods To address this need, partners of the Border Health Strategic Initiative (Border Health ¡SI!) collaboratively developed a culturally relevant diabetes outreach and education program. The model included a five-week series of free diabetes education classes that assisted participants in gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to be physically active, control diet, monitor blood sugar, take medications, and be aware of complications. Central to the model was the use of community health workers - or promotores de salud - to conduct outreach, participate in patient education, and provide individual support. Consequences Program participants achieved significant improvements in self-management behaviors and HbA1c, random blood glucose, and blood pressure levels. Interpretation Quantitative and qualitative evaluation helped to identify the essential elements of a successful program, including partnership of providers, community diabetes classes, promotores outreach and support, linkage between diabetes education and clinical care, and program evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number78
JournalPreventing Chronic Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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