Diabetes is best managed with a healthy diet, exercise and medication. But could steady doses of self-management support from others who have diabetes also help people with this condition maintain healthy blood sugar levels? Researchers at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University hope to find out.
Ann S. Williams, research associate professor at the nursing school, will lead a pilot study to learn how effective support group interventions may be in helping people with diabetes manage healthy lifestyles and routines.
She applied for and received a $50,000 grant from the campus-based National Institutes of Health-funded Clinical Translational Science Collaborative Pilot Grant Programs administered by the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. The grant program supports researchers who are taking an innovative approach to health issues.
Williams will collaborate with the Diabetes Partnership of Cleveland, a nonprofit organization that annually provides education and support to 8,000 children and adults with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
The study will enroll 50 participants who have completed basic diabetes education for one of two interventions. Each group will meet twice a month for three months and be evaluated to determine the value of extra diabetes support.
In particular, Williams will test the effectiveness of group support on participants’ diet, exercise, and use of medications, as well as key clinical indicators: blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. She is also interested in the results on good foot care practices, which are often neglected
“I think the study will have positive outcomes,” said Williams, a person with diabetes who has devoted much of her career to diabetes research.
If the findings are positive, Williams said the next step is to launch a similar study that enrolls a much larger number of participants to test the value of interventions in diabetes support.