Diabetes Self-Management Education (DC)

Working to improve health outcomes and reduce issues of health disparities among people with diabetes.

The Atlantic Quality Innovation Network (AQIN) is one of fourteen Quality Innovation Networks – Quality Improvement Organizations working under the direction of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to promote a diabetes self-management education program for underserved disparate populations of Medicare beneficiaries living with diabetes and prediabetes.

Diabetes self-management education empowers people with the knowledge and skills they need to effectively manage diabetes and prediabetes in an effort to limit the associated complications and improve the quality of their lives. Diabetes self-management education facilitates positive self-care behaviors such as healthy eating, being active, problem solving, healthy coping and self-monitoring.

Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 20131. In the District of Columbia, 3.1% of deaths were attributed to the disease in 20102. Diabetes is often interrelated with other chronic conditions such as obesity, hypertension and hyperlipidemia, increasing the risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and other serious health conditions.

Although the District of Columbia is geographically small relative to most states, the population has been steadily increasing since 2000 making it the 24th most populous place in the United States2. The District is divided into four quadrants – Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, Southeast – with eight electoral Wards. Although the Wards are fairly evenly divided in terms of population size, they vary greatly with regard to socioeconomic status and health conditions. Diabetes rates are highest in Wards 7 and 8 where the population is predominantly African American. It is also estimated that approximately 35,000 D.C. residents have prediabetes2. According to the CDC, diabetes was the fourth leading cause of death among African Americans in 20103. African Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes – they are 1.7 times more likely to develop diabetes compared to non-Hispanic whites4. Accordingly, the AQIN is focused on bringing the diabetes self-management workshops to the African American communities in the District to have the greatest impact on battling the effects of the disease.

The AQIN utilizes an evidence-based diabetes self-management curriculum developed by the Midwest Latino Health Research and Policy Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The Diabetes Empowerment Education Program™ consists of eight modules delivered in six weekly sessions covering the following topics:

  • Diabetes risk factors
  • Complications
  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity
  • Medications
  • Working with the healthcare team
  • Psychosocial effects of diabetes
  • Problem-solving strategies

Each workshop consists of six weekly sessions that are 2 ½ hours each and are offered in community settings such as churches, community centers, libraries, hospitals and senior centers throughout the District. People with diabetes or prediabetes attend the workshop in groups of 10-15 which are facilitated by trained lay-leaders. Each participant that completes 5 out of 6 sessions receives:

  • a copy of the book Living a Health Life with Chronic Conditions, 4th Edition
  • Monofilaments (to check your feet at home)
  • A medication "passport" for tracking medications and dosages
  • Weekly educational materials
  • A Certificate of Achievement
  • The chance to win a pedometer!

If you are a District resident with diabetes or prediabetes, we welcome you to register for our workshops by calling our toll-free number: 1-800-876-3362.

If you represent an organization that is interested in offering diabetes self-management education classes, or an individual interested in volunteering to teach workshops, please send a request to Angela Diggs at diggsa@qlarant.com or call our toll-free number: 1-800-876-3362, extension 11506.


1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Leading Causes of Death. National Center for Health Statistics. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm.

2Government of the District of Columbia (2014). Chronic Disease Prevention: State Plan for the District of Columbia 2014-2019. D.C. Department of Health.

3Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2013). Black or African American Populations. Minority Health. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/minorityhealth/populations/REMP/black.html.

4American Diabetes Association (2013). Treatment and Care for African Americans. High Risk Populations. Retrieved from: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/high-risk-populations/treatment-african-americans.html.




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District of Columbia
Angela Diggs, Project Manager