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Reducing Diabetes Disparities Through the Implementation of a Community Health Worker–Led Diabetes Self-Management Education Program

Walton, James W. DO, MBA; Snead, Christine A. BSN, RN; Collinsworth, Ashley W. MPH; Schmidt, Kathryn L. MPH

doi: 10.1097/FCH.0b013e31824651d3
Lay Health Promoters/Community Health Workers

Disparities in prevalence of type 2 diabetes and complications in underserved populations have been linked to poor quality of care including lack of access to diabetes management programs. Interventions utilizing community health workers (CHWs) to assist with diabetes management have demonstrated improvements in patient outcomes. Use of CHWs may be an effective model for providing care coordination and reducing disparities, but there is limited knowledge on how to implement this model on a large scale. This article describes how an integrated health care system implemented a CHW-led diabetes self-management education program targeting Hispanic patients and reports lessons learned from the first 18 months of operation.

Office of Health Equity (Dr Walton), Baylor Community Care (Ms Snead), and Institute for Health Care Research and Improvement (Mss Collinsworth and Schmidt), Baylor Health Care System, Dallas, Texas.

Correspondence: James W. Walton, DO, MBA, Office of Health Equity, Baylor Health Care System, Dallas, TX 75246, (

The authors thank Claudia Chavira, BS, CHW; Magdalena Lopez, CMA, CHW; Martha Lopez, CCMA, CHW; Miriam Lopez, MA, CHW; and Sayra Rojas, MA, CHW, for their contributions to this project and for making the implementation of the Diabetes Equity Project a success. They also thank their community partners Project Access Dallas, Baylor Family Medicine at Worth Street, CitySquare, Healing Hands Ministries, HOPE Clinic, and Irving Interfaith Clinic.

This program/initiative was supported by a grant from The Merck Company Foundation through its Merck Alliance to Reduce Disparities in Diabetes program.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.