Section 3: From the Field - Integrating Vision and Eye Health Into a Team-Based Care Approach for Diabetes

In Alabama, rates of blindness and other complications from diabetes are a great concern. To address this public health problem, staff in the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH)external icon used CDC’s PPOD program to bring together pharmacists, podiatrists, optometrists, and dentists in a team-based intervention.

A coalition was formed to oversee implementation of the intervention. Members included representatives from the Eyesight Foundation of Alabama, Sight Savers, the Alabama Institution of the Deaf and Blind, and the Department of Rehabilitation Services, as well as local optometrists and ophthalmologists.

The PPOD intervention helped to increase awareness of the role that vision and eye health care providers can play in identifying and treating patients with diabetes in Alabama. It also helped build capacity in the ADPH to address vision and eye health as a high-priority public health issue and integrate vision and eye health interventions into other public health programs.

Alabama’s PPOD coordinator, Betsy Cagle, offered the following suggestions to organizations interested in integrating vision and eye health into other public health interventions:

  • The most important first step is to identify at least one existing public health program, such as diabetes, healthy aging, tobacco control, or falls prevention, that is open to including vision and eye health interventions in their goals and activities.
  • Because the success of PPOD depends on buy-in from pharmacists, podiatrists, optometrists, and dentists, reach out to these providers early. Listen to their feedback on how best to implement and sustain your intervention.
  • Explore partnership opportunities with other agencies and organizations that have an interest in vision and eye health. Examples include state and local agencies focused on aging and disabilities, academic institutions, and nonprofits, such as Prevent Blindness. 

About the Expert in the Field

Betsy Cagle works for the ADPH and was involved in implementing the PPOD intervention.