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Diabetes Connect: Developing a Mobile Health Intervention to Link Diabetes Community Health Workers With Primary Care

Cherrington, Andrea L. MD, MPH; Agne, April A. MPH; Lampkin, Yolanda BS; Birl, Annie; Shelton, Tanya C. MSN, RN, CDE; Guzman, Alfredo MEng; Willig, James H. MD, MSPH

Journal of Ambulatory Care Management: October/December 2015 - Volume 38 - Issue 4 - p 333–345
doi: 10.1097/JAC.0000000000000110
Original Articles

Community health worker (CHW) interventions can help improve diabetes self-management and health outcomes. There is limited evidence on how to effectively integrate CHW programs with primary care efforts. Mobile health technology (mHealth) can connect CHWs to members of the health care team and enhance care. We tested a model for the integration of a CHW-delivered mHealth intervention to improve diabetes self-management. Seventy-two African American patients with diabetes were followed using the mHealth tool. This project partnered an academic institution, a safety-net clinic, and African American churches. The integration of mHealth technology into CHW programs was successfully achieved and readily accepted.

Divisions of Preventive Medicine (Dr Cherrington and Ms Agne) and Infectious Diseases (Mr Guzman and Dr Willig), Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham; Congregations for Public Health Inc, Birmingham, Alabama (Mss Lampkin and Birl); and Cooper Green Mercy Health System, Birmingham, Alabama (Ms Shelton).

Correspondence: Andrea L. Cherrington, MD, MPH, Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, MT 612, 1720 2nd Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35294 (

This project was supported by the University of Alabama at Birmingham's (UAB) Diabetes Research Center [award no. P30 DK-079626] and the UAB Obesity Training Program [award no. T32 DK-062710] from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases or the National Institutes of Health. Funding was also provided by grants from the American Diabetes Association [191605] (to Dr Cherrington) and the Agency for Healthcare RQ [K12 HS019465] (PI: Saag/Project PI: Dr Cherrington). The authors acknowledge the tireless efforts and hard work of their study team and support staff: John P. Shelley; Rebecca Honaker, MPH; Nathan Sherrer; Krysia Crabtree, MD; Andrew Wilson; Susan Andreae, MPH; Ashruta Patel; Allyson Barley; and Marquita Lewis. The authors especially thank the hard work, kindness, and support that their community health workers, Ms Annie Birl, Ms Yolanda Lampkin, Ms Rhonda Woods, and Ms Anterese Jackson, provided to the participants. The authors are sincerely grateful to their community partners and churches that facilitated the community outreach. The authors also thank Ms Mary Evans with the UAB Center for the Study of Community Health and Revs Soloman and Gibson of Congregations for Public Health Inc. The UAB Center for the Study of Community is a member of the Prevention Research Centers Program, supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cooperative agreement no. U48DP005037. The authors are extremely appreciative of the patience and dedication of the IT team, especially Praneetha Likki. Without the expertise, hard work, and support of the study team, community partners, and others, the development and implementation of this project would not have been possible.

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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