The ABCs of diabetes: diabetes self-management education program for African Americans affects A1C, lipid-lowering agent prescriptions, and emergency department visits

Diabetes Educ. Jan-Feb 2011;37(1):95-103. doi: 10.1177/0145721710392246.


Purpose: The purpose of the study was to examine the feasibility and impact of a concise community-based program on diabetes self-management education (DSME), according to frequency of emergency department visits and knowledge of, prescriptions for, and control of A1C, blood pressure, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

Methods: A free community-based DSME program was placed in a public library. Adults with diabetes (N, 360) consented to participate in this prospective nonrandomized cohort study with preintervention-postintervention design. The small-group interactive DSME (two 2.5-hour classes) focused on improving cardiovascular disease risk factors and facilitating communication with the primary care physician.

Results: An increase in knowledge of American Diabetes Association-recommended targets for A1C, blood pressure, and LDL cholesterol from baseline to postintervention was seen among participants. Significant clinical outcomes included reduction in self-reported emergency department visits and reduction in mean A1C. However, despite an increase in prescriptions written for lipid-lowering drugs, blood pressure and LDL cholesterol did not change. Participants who started on insulin were more likely to achieve or maintain A1C < 7% compared to those who either did not take or stopped taking insulin during the study.

Conclusions: Offering DSME classes for African Americans at a public library was feasible and significantly affected 6-month clinical outcomes, including a reduction in A1C, an increased likelihood of attaining a target A1C of < 7% if insulin was started during the study period, and a two-thirds reduction in emergency department visits for uncontrolled diabetes. Observed results suggest that partnering with community-based organizations such as public libraries offers an accessible and well-received location for offering DSME programs.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • District of Columbia
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Libraries*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Care*