Yale School of Nursing, Yale University's Graduate Nursing Programs

Delivering Diabetes Prevention Close to Home

June 1, 2010

Robin Whittemore and Lisa Gilmore.A new and innovative diabetes prevention program will be delivered in the Willimantic, Conn., community through a partnership between Yale University School of Nursing (YSN) and VNA East, Inc of Mansfield, Conn. Obesity and type 2 diabetes are increasing at alarming rates around the world and more needs to be done to help people prevent these health problems.

Yale University is sponsoring a research study to examine ways to prevent diabetes targeting the four communities of West Avenue, Hevrin Terrace, Village Heights, and Windham Heights. The study will recruit 25 participants at each site, but welcomes additional residents to join in the group sessions to learn more about preventing diabetes through a healthier lifestyle.

This new program is funded through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Yale Associate Professor Robin Whittemore, PhD, APRN, received $300,000 from RWJF to deliver lifestyle change and support sessions to residents in community housing in Willimantic, Conn.

"When I learned that VNA East was partnering with Yale University to implement a diabetes prevention program in the community, I jumped at the chance to be involved," commented Vicki Oldham, RN, a Visiting Nurse with VNA East. "I want to help those at the highest risk make the modest lifestyle changes necessary to avoid type 2 diabetes altogether."

The project will create and test a new model of diabetes education, bringing support to adults at risk for diabetes right where they live, provided by visiting nurses. The study's success will be measured by clinical outcomes such as weight loss, blood pressure, and levels of insulin resistance, as well as behavioral changes such as exercise and eating habits.

"Research supports that a little bit of weight loss – about 5% of a person's weight – has significant health benefits – which includes preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes," Dr. Whittemore stated. "We want to get that message to adults at risk for diabetes, and we also want to provide the behavioral support that helps people accomplish that goal."

"It is exciting that Yale researchers are turning to Visiting Nurses, tapping in to our experience in working with the residents of our community. We have the knowledge and connections to assist them in this significant initiative," Oldham added.

For more information on the diabetes prevention program or for details on joining the group sessions, please email robin.wittemore@yale.edu or call 860-456-7288, extension 289.