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Getting Into Focus: AMA Partnership with CMAF/NEPO Localizes National Diabetes Prevention Efforts

The growth of diabetes and prediabetes in this country is a looming threat, especially at a community level. With that in mind, the AMA has partnered with the California Medical Association (CMA) Foundation and the Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations (NEPO) to help spread the word about the importance of diabetes prevention in local communities.

Diabetes and prediabetes are growing problems in California. According to 2014 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 8.2% of U.S. adults in California reported ever being told by a health professional that they had prediabetes, while 9.9% of U.S. adults in California have been diagnosed with diabetes.

Compounding those statistics is a 2013-14 study from the California Health Interview Survey, which reports that more than 13 million California residents are likely to have prediabetes or undiagnosed diabetes. 

To raise awareness on a local level, the AMA is working with CMA Foundation and NEPO to share recommendations with select California primary care physicians for screening, testing and referring patients with prediabetes to community-based, lifestyle change diabetes prevention programs or DPPs.

The NEPO 2016 Building Healthy Communities Summit launched the effort where the AMA exhibited, held two education sessions on diabetes prevention for physician leaders and led a focus group for health care providers to get feedback on prediabetes tools and resources.

Some of the resources the AMA presented include the Diabetes STAT toolkit, which allows health care teams to screen, test and act today, or STAT, by referring patients to an in-person or online DPP and a team-based diabetes care coordination guide.

The AMA also shared with the focus group advertising tools that connect providers with helpful clinical resources.

Opportunities Unfold

Focus group participants included a range of provider specialties and types who represented diverse patient populations. They also offered a variety of opinions about how prediabetes affects their patients.

The focus group feedback determined that the diabetes prevention materials proved valuable to patients as well as providers. They viewed the materials as valuable conversation starters for physicians and their care teams and will prove helpful in getting patients to understand the severity of prediabetes and how profound lifestyle changes can be. 

Participants were also introduced to existing CDC community resources and how to make use of them in their offices, which cemented the importance of connecting physicians with local programs and fostering those relationships to best serve their patients.

The general consensus based on provider experience was that patients would seem more responsive and likely to adhere to lifestyle interventions like a DPP and that these programs were a great method for preventing and/or delaying type 2 diabetes onset.

Better Together

With this outreach effort, the partnership supports both primary care providers and health care organizations alike to empower underserved patients and communities to improve their health outcomes.

The wealth of knowledge gained from working with a diverse group of physicians will help make strides in the battle to prevent type 2 diabetes and creates opportunities going forward for additional ways to increase community engagement and improve access to care.

“This partnership allows us to better serve our community and address the growing issue of prediabetes. We’ve found the tools essential in assessing a patient’s risk for prediabetes and in identifying and referring patients to local diabetes prevention programs,” says Dr. James T. Hay, Family Physician and CMA Foundation Board Chair.

“We look forward to a continued partnership to help keep this work at the forefront of our priorities,” adds Dr. Hay. 

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