Background: African Americans suffer disproportionately from diabetes complications, but little research has focused on how to improve diabetic control in this population. There are also few or no data on a combined primary care and community-based intervention approach.
Methods: We randomly assigned 186 urban African Americans with type 2 diabetes (76% female, mean A SD age 59 A 9 years) to 1 of 4 parallel arms: (1) usual care only; (2) usual care + nurse case manager (NCM); (3) usual care + community health worker (CHW); (4) usual care + nurse case manager/community health worker team. Using the framework of the Precede-Proceed behavioral model, interventions included patient counseling regarding self-care practices and physician reminders.
Results: The 2-year follow-up visit was completed by 149 individuals (84%). Compared to the Usual care group, the NCM group and the CHW group had modest declines in HbA(1c) over 2 years (0.3 and 0.3%, respectively), and the combined NCM/CHW group had a greater decline in HbA(1c) (0.8%. P = 0.137). After adjustment for baseline differences and/or follow-up time, the combined NCM/CHW group showed improvements in triglycerides (-35.5 mg/dl; P = 0.041) and diastolic blood pressure, compared to the usual care group (-5.6 mmHg; P = 0.042).
Conclusions: Combined NCM/CHW interventions may improve diabetic control in urban African Americans with type 2 diabetes. Although results were clinically important, they did not reach statistical significance. This approach deserves further attention as a means to reduce the excess risk of diabetic complications in African Americans.