Health Wise Woman Diabetes Self-Management Project
This 31-year old national organization adapted one of its signature programs, the Health Wise Woman, to include diabetes self-management components and enrolled Black women over the age of 40 living in the Washington, D.C. area in the project. Peer health educators (Health Wise Women) taught self-management behaviors along with basic diabetes information in group sessions. The organization also integrated its trademarked Self-Help Sister Circle™, an emotional support network model, into the diabetes intervention. The initiative resulted in the participation of 127 women, 27 women trained as Health Wise Woman educators and new partnerships with five faith-based and community organizations.
- The Imperative’s knowledge of and experience with the realities of Black women’s lives and its Self Help Sister Circles ™ framework helped women in the program open up about the challenges of living with diabetes and provide each other support for improving their diabetes self-management.
- The integration of this initiative into existing social service and health programming of key community partners helped improve participation. For example, the program was integrated into the resident peer training program of N Street Village, an organization that provides skill development to women in the process of transitioning from homelessness to self-sufficiency.
- Black women and their families felt connected to services within their communities; it is key for services to be offered in familiar environments where the women are already connected (e.g., clinics, churches).