Arizona QIN-QIO Teams Up with City of Phoenix to Promote Local Seniors Getting Fit and Managing Diabetes

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This article, about community partner recruitment, is part of a larger series surrounding the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ diabetes self-management program, Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC).

Health Services Advisory Group (HSAG), the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for Arizona, California, Florida, Ohio and the U.S. Virgin Islands, has been using the Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) program to provide and facilitate diabetes self-management education (DSME) training classes to improve the health literacy of Medicare and dual-eligible beneficiaries with diabetes in minority and rural populations.

After conducting successful DSME workshops at City of Phoenix senior centers and hearing positive feedback from participants, HSAG was invited by the city’s Human Services Program Coordinator to present at its FitPHX event. FitPHX, a city-wide healthy living initiative led by Mayor Greg Stanton, Councilman Daniel Valenzuela and Olympic Gold Medalist Misty Hyman, aims to create programs and utilize existing resources to improve health and wellness in the region. The program encourages residents to lead healthier lifestyles, focusing on childhood and adult obesity, nutrition education, walking, bicycling, the use of public transportation and healthy worksites.

“Our staff members were [also] able to meet face-to-face with many individuals with diabetes and enlist them to participate in DSME workshops at area senior centers.”

On August 3, 2015, a year after the QIN-QIO began offering the EDC program, HSAG staff members participated in a FitPHX Senior Field Day at Paradise Valley Senior Center. HSAG representatives took this opportunity to deliver information on nutrition and diabetes to the more than 200 participants from various senior centers in the Northeast Valley. Senior participants competed in eight different fitness events and visited tables set up around the gaming activities to speak with a variety of vendors throughout the event, including the American Association of Retired Persons and the faith-based Foundations for Senior Living, all of which provided valuable information about healthy lifestyles.

“Our table displayed three different food menus comparing nutrition information in carbohydrates and fats, poster boards about blood pressure control, and additional resources on the importance of healthy eating to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels,” said Padma Taggarse, MMI, MBA, executive director, physician office quality at HSAG. “Our staff members were also able to meet face-to-face with many individuals with diabetes and enlist them to participate in DSME workshops at area senior centers.”

Moving forward, HSAG plans to continue to focus on sustainability planning by training more peer educators who can conduct DSME workshops throughout Arizona. HSAG is also partnering with many community organizations like Lions Clubs, faith-based nurse groups and public libraries throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area to offer DSME workshops. The QIN-QIO’s immediate efforts in Fall 2015 will focus on recruitment at recreational vehicle parks in Phoenix and rural communities to provide self-management education to seniors living in Arizona during the winter months.

“We’re extremely excited about the future of our diabetes self-management programs and the influence we can have on our local population to help make the Phoenix area one of the healthiest in the nation,” said Taggarse.