Diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) services help people with all types of diabetes better manage their blood sugar levels, develop coping skills, and reduce the risk for health complications. DSMES can also help lower health care costs by reducing the need for medicines and emergency room visits and identifying money-saving programs.
Rural populations have higher rates of diabetes compared to people who live in urban areas, but 62% of rural counties don’t have DSMES services. People in rural areas have lower rates of participation in DSMES but are more likely to need it.
In rural communities, pharmacists and community health workers (CHWs) are often more accessible than other health professionals. CDC funds states to expand DSMES services to underserved populations and communities, including people living in rural areas, by engaging pharmacists and CHWs to deliver DSMES services. CDC also developed a practice-based guide to share lessons learned from DSMES programs that serve rural populations. The guide is designed to complement the DSMES Toolkit, which provides resources and tools for developing, promoting, implementing, and sustaining DSMES services.
The CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) is a public-private partnership working to build a nationwide system to deliver an affordable, evidence-based lifestyle change program to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Participants in the lifestyle change program learn to make healthy food choices, be more physically active, and find ways to cope with problems and stress. CDC has provided funding and guidance to expand the National DPP in underserved areas, more than half of which are rural.