Improving Diabetes Prevention and Management

Project Title

Focusing on Health: An Evaluation of Faith-based Diabetes Programming

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Improving Diabetes Prevention and Management

Date Awarded

March 23, 2011







As part of a three-year statewide faith-based initiative on diabetes, the Institute for Leadership received grants from NYHealth to establish and implement a diabetes program to faith-based organizations called “Defy Diabetes,” which trains congregation members as diabetes “volunteers” to recruit and implement self-management programs.

Collaborating with NYHealth and the Institute for Leadership, the Center for Evaluation and Applied Research (CEAR) at the New York Academy of Medicine evaluated the “Defy Diabetes” program by conducting focus groups in four New York regions: Downstate, Northern, Central and Western. CEAR analyzed and reported on focus group findings with regards to: 1) providing insight into volunteer and participant perspectives on the “Defy Diabetes” program and the health and health care issues it seeks to address; and 2) contributing to the general knowledge base regarding diabetes prevention and management, as well as faith-based health programming.

Themes addressed in the focus groups included strengths and weaknesses of the support groups and volunteer training; change in knowledge, attitudes, and behavior as a result of support group implementation; health care linkages, health care utilization, and changes therein; program fidelity; sustainability; and the broader impact of the project within the institution and the community. Additonal themes addressed views on the relative advantages and disadvantages of faith settings for health interventions, including:

  1. the significance of the faith community as a pre-existing support group;
  2. the impact of incorporating religious teachings into health messages; and
  3. the capability of faith-based health interventions to reach and impact on the wider community.