Diabetes Prevention Program Expanded to Physician Practices

Dec. 28, 2011

The Greater Rochester Health Foundation (GRHF) has awarded up to $602,000 to the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) of the Center for Community Health of the University of Rochester Medical Center. This three-year grant is funded through one of the Foundation’s major areas of focus, prevention. DPP will expand its successful lifestyle intervention program to 11 primary care settings to reduce the incidence of diabetes by more than half. It is estimated that 20 percent of African Americans living in the city have diabetes; medical experts say it is likely that one in three residents of the City of Rochester has pre-diabetes and is at risk for developing diabetes.“The Diabetes Prevention Program is very consistent with the mission of Greater Rochester Health Foundation – to improve the health status of all residents of the greater Rochester community including people whose unique healthcare needs have not been met because of race, ethnicity or income,” said John Urban, president and CEO of the Foundation. “We are particularly excited about the focus of this program in working with underserved people. There are many serious conditions associated with diabetes, including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, susceptibility of infection and vascular disease that can result in amputations. Being able to prevent diabetes and these complications is a significant contribution to improving the health of the community because this disease impacts so many individuals, their families and employers.”

“The Center for Community Health and URMC have a strong track record in improving the care of people with chronic medical conditions,” Urban said. “The potential to significantly improve the quality of health and life for the 1,000+ people to be enrolled in the program and the millions of dollars that will be saved by preventing and managing diabetes makes our grant a solid investment in the health of our community.”The DPP has been highly successful and cost-effective in clinical trials but has not been broadly implemented in clinical practices because of time constraints during appointments and the lack of weekly contact between physicians, medical educators and patients. Through this grant, the program will be implemented in 11 primary care settings within Anthony L. Jordon Health Center, Culver Medical Group, East Ridge Family Medicine, Rochester General Medical Associates, and Unity Health System. The program involves 22 weeks of intensive intervention of group and individual meetings with nutritionists and activity counselors, which allows individuals and their families to try new behaviors in a supportive environment over a period of time.

“The introduction of patient-centered medical homes has strengthened the coordination of education and care for patients and will be very effective in working with patients at risk for diabetes,” said Nancy M. Bennett, M.D., director of the Center for Community Health. “In this model, each patient has an ongoing relationship with a primary care physician who provides continuous care and leads a team of health professionals to support the patient across all stages of life. Therefore, the patient and the entire medical team can focus on all of the risk factors and two of the key success factors in reducing the incidence of diabetes – loss of 7 percent of body fat and increasing physical activity to 150 minutes per week.”“Over the three years of the grant, it is expected that more than 1,000 high-risk individuals will be enrolled in the program through these urban practices and more than $1 million will be saved each year,” Urban said. “By targeting lower-socioeconomic areas of the city where the risk of pre-diabetes and the incidence of diabetes is great, the DPP can help patients to improve their lifestyle and health and increase life expectancy. It is anticipated that after three years of the grant, our community will have a model of care that can be replicated in community practices across our community and in other regions. We are pleased to invest in a program that has proven successful in research settings and which has so much potential to improve the health of our community.”