Bringing Diabetes Self Management Education Training To District of Columbia Beneficiaries

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Although nearly 29.1 million people in the United States — approximately 9.3 percent of the general population — have diabetes, many patients are not aware of the best ways to manage and treat the disease. Di­abetes Self Management Education (DSME) is an evidence-based intervention for empowering individuals with diabetes to take an active role in managing their disease. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) Program aims to improve diabetes care among groups facing health disparities by working with communities to promote best practices in healthy living. With these goals in mind, the Atlantic Quality Innovation Network (AQIN) — the Quality Innovation Network-QIO (QIN-QIO) for the District of Columbia (DC), New York and South Carolina — partnered with Medstar Health—a non-profit, community-based health system serving the Baltimore/​Washington region — to promote DSME initiatives in the District.

As part of a community-based promotional campaign, Medstar Health drove a recreational vehicle to a variety of senior centers, senior apartment complexes and faith-based organizations throughout the District to promote wellness to seniors. Presentations by AQIN-DC staff were designed to engage beneficiaries in learning more about diabetes, prediabetes and self-management skills.

Because of Medstar Health’s advance work conducting outreach to the 12 facility sites at which the program was held, AQIN-DC staff was able to readily talk to beneficiaries and facility staff members. Leveraging the partnership with Medstar Health allowed AQIN-DC to reach a substantial number of potential diabetes host sites and beneficiaries that otherwise would not have been possible.


Two of the five sites at which AQIN-DC staff made presentations committed to host workshops as a direct result of the campaign in November and December 2015. By summer 2016, all five sites had held workshops. As a result, more than 45 beneficiaries in Greater Washington completed the DSME program. Medstar Health staff members also participated in AQIN-DC-led peer leader training in December 2015. More than 15 peer leaders were trained as a result of this program.