Aims: The purpose of this randomized controlled trial was to determine the impact of a culturally tailored diabetes education program led by a community health worker (CHW) on the HbA1c, blood pressure, body mass index (BMI) and lipid status of uninsured Mexican Americans with diabetes.
Methods: Adult patients were recruited from a community clinic and randomized into intervention (n=90) and control (n=90) groups. Both groups received usual medical care from clinic physicians. The intervention group participated in the Community Diabetes Education (CoDE) program over 12 months. The primary outcome of interest was HbA1c. Secondary outcomes included blood pressure, BMI and lipid status. Variations in outcomes over time were assessed within groups and between groups using linear mixed-models and an intention-to-treat approach. Assessment of changes in HbA1c, blood pressure and lipid status over 12 months included variables to control for modifications made to antidiabetic, antihypertensive and lipid lowering medications.
Results: There was no difference in baseline characteristics between the intervention and control groups. Mean changes of HbA1c over 12 months showed a significant intervention effect (-.7%, p=.02) in the CoDE group compared with controls. HbA1c decreased significantly from baseline to 12 months within the intervention (-1.6%, p<.001) and control (-.9%, p<.001) groups. No differences between groups for secondary outcomes were found.
Conclusions: This study supports the effectiveness of CHWs as diabetes educators/case managers functioning as integral members of the health care team in community clinic settings serving uninsured Mexican Americans.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00151190.
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