ARCHIVED: Context: Reducing health disparities related to diabetes: Lessons learned through the Canadian Diabetes Strategy Community-Based Program


Context: Reducing Health Disparities Related to Diabetes: Lessons Learned Through the Canadian Diabetes Strategy Community-Based Program

Approximately 2 million Canadians are living with diagnosed diabetes, and another 6 million are believed to be at high risk for future diagnosis of diabetes. Projections indicate that, by 2012, almost 2.8 million Canadians will be living with diagnosed diabetes. Research shows that certain ethnic groups in Canada—including Canadians of South Asian, Asian, Latin American and African heritage—and Aboriginal people are at higher risk of developing diabetes.1, 2 In addition, factors such as insufficient income, stress and access to health services can both increase the risk of developing diabetes and prevent adequate management of diabetes. Effective programs exist to prevent and manage diabetes in the general population. However, there is limited information on how to address the specific needs of high-risk populations such as new immigrants, low-income earners, seniors and those working shifts.

Since 2005, the Public Health Agency of Canada has provided funding to community-based organizations through the Canadian Diabetes Strategy (CDS) Community-Based Program. The CDS aims to establish effective diabetes prevention and control approaches and share this knowledge. The Strategy addresses a wide range of issues related to diabetes information, education and disease management for high-risk populations. Its primary focus has been the prevention of type 2 diabetes through action on risk factors, early detection and management of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This report highlights seven case studies that provide examples and lessons learned from innovative community-based CDS-funded projects designed to prevent and manage diabetes in certain high-risk populations. These projects were selected for the report because each one used a unique approach to meet the needs of the target population.

Carrying out evaluation at the community level can present challenges, particularly with community organizations that may have limited capacity and resources for evaluation. The community-based projects highlighted in this report were provided with additional funding through CDS to carry out a more in-depth evaluation. The evaluation approach varied greatly among the projects; however, in all cases, the evaluation yielded critical lessons learned that will help to shape future projects to prevent and manage diabetes. It is anticipated that sharing the early lessons learned from these projects will be helpful to other community organizations struggling to improve Canadians' outlook for diabetes and other chronic conditions.

  1. Manuel DG and Schultz SE. (2003). Diabetes health status and risk factors. In: Hux JE, Booth GL, Slaughter PM et al. Diabetes in Ontario: An ICES Practice Atlas. Toronto: Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences
  2. Anand SS, Yusuf S, Vuksan V et al. (2000). Differences in risk factors, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease between ethnic groups in Canada: the Study of Health Assessment and Risk in Ethnic groups(SHARE). The Lancet; 356: 279-284

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