Marshall University’s Center for Rural Health

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Marshall University’s Center for Rural Health aimed to build the capacity of diabetes coalitions in rural, low income counties in the Appalachian Region to improve the health status of people living with diabetes and other chronic conditions. A collaborative partnership between the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Marshall University was created since 2000 to reduce health disparities within the Appalachian region. As part of the Together on Diabetes project, ten coalitions were funded by the Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) Foundation to address diabetes in Appalachia with the technical assistance and guidance of the ARC, CDC, and Marshall University. The three partners intended to build on the existing infrastructure of diabetes coalitions and substantially upgrade their ability to organize and implement best practice or evidence-based programs through training on how to plan, implement and evaluate their projects.

Context

This project sought to build the capacity of community coalitions in rural, low-income counties in the Appalachian Region to improve the health status of people living with diabetes and other chronic conditions.

Action

The intervention contained three primary elements:

  1. Build the capacity diabetes coalitions in rural, low-income counties in the Appalachian Region to mobilize their community for sustained health development.
  2. Equip diabetes coalition leaders to implement evidence-based programs through a program of train-the-trainers;
  3. Develop systems to support and sustain implementation of countywide programs that help residence experience the benefits of taking control of their diabetes and other chronic conditions.

Learnings

Lessons learned include several facilitating and restraining factors that include:

  • Community outreach
  • Strong community leadership
  • Collaborative partnerships
  • Volunteer workforce
  • Community buy-in
  • Access via transportation
  • Food deserts
  • Limited available time of key stakeholders