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



Diabetes is a complex health problem that cannot be addressed effectively by any single intervention or sector. It is increasingly recognized that social determinants of health— the living conditions Canadians experience—are important factors shaping the incidence of type 2 diabetes and its successful management. The case studies highlighted in this report each provide important lessons learned from community-based diabetes programming that take into account people's living circumstances, including income, social support networks, personal health practices, working conditions and culture.

The majority of projects described in this report were participatory in nature, meaning that representatives of the target population were actively involved in the planning, delivery or evaluation of the projects (for instance, through participation on project advisory or steering committees). The use of these participatory approaches assisted the organizations in effectively reaching communities of interest (specific cultural and age groups) and in delivering appropriate health education activities.

Most of the case studies in this report were funded for one year, and evaluations conducted were primarily process evaluations (documenting and analyzing the early development and actual implementation of the project, assessing whether strategies were implemented as planned). Therefore, any outcomes highlighted were early outcomes. A variety of evaluation methods were used (including qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods). Some of the evaluations had methodological challenges, which may have been due to a lack of resources or capacity available within the organization to conduct a robust evaluation.

The evaluation results reflect both the successes and challenges faced by organizations delivering programs at the community level. Nonetheless, it is anticipated that sharing the early lessons gleaned from these projects and the evaluation approaches used will be helpful to and adapted by other community organizations working to prevent and manage diabetes and other chronic conditions in Canada.

Additional Resources

Canadian Diabetes Strategy:

Report from the National Diabetes Surveillance System: Diabetes in Canada, 2009

Canadian Diabetes Association: Best and Promising Practices

Towards Evidence-Informed Practice (TEIP) Learning Module 3 - Planning for Successful Evaluation

  1. D. Raphael, S. Anstice, K. Raine, et al. (2003), "The Social Determinants of the Incidence and Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Are We Prepared to Rethink Our Questions and Redirect Our Research Activities?" Leadership in Health Services 16:10-20.

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