Type 2 diabetes is a long-term health concern among people from the Marshall Islands. Through the standard and family-based model of diabetes self-management education and support programs, research staff worked with Marshallese people living in Arkansas to develop a diabetes education program that includes personal stories and analogies common in Marshallese culture.
Patients with Type 2 diabetes invited family members to participate in the education sessions. Through diabetes self-management education, trained community health workers lead educational sessions in the patients’ homes. Due to the success of the Family Model Diabetes Self-Management Education Program, research staff have expanded the study from northwest Arkansas to the Republic of the Marshall Islands, working with four churches in the country to screen and enroll residents in the program.
Patients can manage diabetes by eating healthy foods, exercising, and checking blood sugar levels regularly.
A New Approach to Diabetes Management
Through family goal-setting unique to Marshallese culture, our team is reducing Type 2 diabetes in our community. Our Family Model Diabetes Self-Management Education Program program includes cooking demonstrations using traditional Marshallese recipes and “talk story” to reach people where they need us most. Education is provided by bilingual Marshallese Community Health Workers.DSME Adaptation
Compared to patients receiving standard diabetes education, participants in our culturally-adapted program reported lower blood sugar levels and were more likely to check their blood sugar levels regularly. Our study was the first to document success reducing HbA1c in Marshallese populations.DSME Scientific Results
Type 2 Diabetes Education Curriculum
The UAMS Office of Community Health and Research has made culturally-specific diabetes self-management education curriculum publicly available. Click below to access the curriculum.
Funding for the diabetes self-management education and support programs is provided by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.