Thursday, November 2, 2017

UK gets $3.1 million grant to continue work on diabetes education and prevention in Eastern Kentucky

The University of Kentucky has been awarded a five year, $3.1 million grant for research that will target "faith-based" interventions for diabetes in Appalachian Kentucky, which has the highest diabetes rate in the state -- 17.5 percent.

The research is part of an ongoing "Faith Moves Mountains" project, led by Nancy Schoenberg, the Marion Pearsall Professor of behavioral science in the university's College of Medicine. Her previous Faith Moves Mountains projects involved cervical cancer prevention, general wellness and cancer prevention and Appalachian health disparities, according to a UK news release.

Schoenberg told UKNow that this project, like the others, will draw on faith organizations and other partnerships, but will also reach out to new churches and new environments to promote the message of diabetes control.

“We have worked over the years with about 60 or 70 churches, faith organizations in general, as well as senior centers, community centers, other environments, to really promote the most scientifically rigorous projects,” Schoenberg said. “All of my research really focuses on bringing in people from the communities melding their community knowledge and our team’s scientific knowledge to figure out the best interventions and programs to promote health and to decrease health disparities.”

The grant from the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases will allow Schoenberg to implement a project called "Clinic-to-Community Navigation to Improve Diabetes Outcomes" in Appalachia, where the rate of diabetes is about 46 percent higher than the national average -- and with about one-third of those who have the disease not yet diagnosed, says the release.

In Kentucky, 13.4 percent of Kentucky adults have been diagnosed with diabetes. In Appalachian Kentucky, the rate is 17.5 percent. The national rate is 9.9 percent, according to the state-sponsored 2017 Kentucky Diabetes Report.

Schoenberg's project will work to educate people with Type 2 diabetes about self-management and to train community-based facilitators to help coordinate health care services, the news release says.

The research involves assigning participants into one of three groups. One group will be part of a diabetes self-management group, which will take place in churches and other community-based venues. The second group will be assigned a patient navigator who will actively engage with their participants about their diabetes care, including helping them set up appointments and making sure they attend them. The third group will be a combination of the self-management and patient navigation group.

“We want to draw on what we know works to help community members get the diabetes self-management that they need,” Schoenberg said. “Our hope is that at the end of the day, they're able to take control of their health.”

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