Skip to main content

NC State Secures CDC Funding for Extension Diabetes Program

For individuals living with diabetes, participation in a self-management education and support initiative can significantly mitigate the risk of health complications tied to the condition. Nevertheless, the accessibility of such programs remains a formidable challenge.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of 2020, only 2,158 sites were providing this invaluable program across the United States. This starkly contrasts with the nearly 28.7 million diagnosed cases of diabetes and an estimated 8.5 million individuals unknowingly living with the condition.

But, through a CDC funding and cooperative agreement initiative, NC State will partner with Clemson University to bring a diabetes self-management support program to North Carolina. NC is one of 4 states that will duplicate the Clemson Health Extension for Diabetes program to allow more people access to this vital resource.

Health Extension for Diabetes (HED) is an education and support program that will be delivered through NC State Extension in four NC counties including Bertie, Halifax, Hertford, and Northampton. FCS Agents and Specialists will also work with clinical and community partners in these counties, including the Albemarle Regional Health System (ARHS), the Halifax County Health Department, and the Northampton County Health Department.

The award, titled, “Health Extension for Diabetes: Program Expansion to Advance Health Equity,” is worth $160,000 in the first year and is anticipated to provide 5 years of funding for the program. Basheerah Enahora and Virginia Stage, both from the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences, will be Co-Investigators and NC State leads for the program. Enahora states “This program provides a unique opportunity to tailor and deliver quality diabetes education and care to some of the most underserved communities in North Carolina.”

What makes HED truly unique is its connections to clinical resources at hospitals with education and support in the community. The program is also listed on the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Support Directory, a free online tool to help connect communities to a qualified, American Diabetes Association-recognized diabetes support program.

NC State and NC State Extension will partner with Albemarle Regional Health System, the Halifax County Health Department, the Northampton County Health Department, and additional community and faith-based organizations in North Carolina to extend the reach of diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) education and support using proven strategies for clinical-Extension-community linkages, referrals, and program delivery.

The program will conduct needs assessments in each county to identify and address social determinants of health and facilitate customization of DSMES programs to meet the literacy and cultural needs of participants while developing a sustainable model to deliver DSMES education and support to rural, predominantly minority communities in North Carolina, utilizing the HED Program.

NC State Extension agents will teach people diagnosed with diabetes to adopt healthy behaviors for long-term management of the condition, thereby improving blood glucose control and lowering their risk of diabetes-related side effects. The program will be offered both in-person and online and is also available to native Spanish speakers with the materials that have been translated and adapted, and the program can be facilitated in Spanish by a bilingual Extension agent.

Enahora adds “We are excited about the many lives this program will touch over the five-year period. Additionally, we hope that our program, which will bring together Extension, clinical partners, and the community, will serve as a model to further expand diabetes services throughout the entire state in the future.”