Bringing Diabetes Education to Rural Indiana

Franciscan Health offers ‎American Diabetes Association recognized diabetes self- management education (DSME) at their Healthy Living Center in Lafayette, Indiana, but this important type of education was limited in the counties surrounding the hospital.

Many people with diabetes were unable or unwilling to travel to learn how to manage their disease. So the Franciscan diabetes team partnered with atom Alliance to bring the classes to underserved areas.

“We strategically convene community providers, partners and patients to create improvements in health quality,” explained atom Alliance quality improvement advisor Jill Peterson. She said DSME is a proven intervention for empowering persons with diabetes to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to improve the quality of their lives. “DSME prevents and lessens the severity of complications resulting from diabetes such as kidney failure, amputations, loss of vision, heart failure and stroke.”

Because Montgomery County had the largest need, DSME classes were scheduled at Franciscan Health in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Sixteen people attended the sessions with ten participants graduating from the program.

“One class member reported a positive behavior change within the first two weeks. She began eating cereal rather than snack cakes each morning for breakfast,” said Peterson who taught the classes. Participants enjoyed the group interaction and hearing stories from other people with diabetes.

During the class, several participants discussed the need for a diabetes support group in Crawfordsville. A Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) employed by the Healthy Living Center attended the classes and was impressed with the engagement of the participants at sessions. The CDE shared the support group idea with management. They endorsed the idea and support group sessions began in September 2017.

Knowing that the CDE was interested in expanding their recognized ADA program to the outlying counties, Peterson connected her with the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) diabetes education coordinator. Peterson knew the health department offered funding to assist organizations with becoming accredited and expanding current educational programs.

Now ISDH, the Healthy Living Center and Purdue North Central Nursing Clinics (NCNC) are collaborating to offer DSME via telehealth to clinics in four rural communities. They plan to start with a clinic in Delphi and spread the telehealth offerings to three other clinics in the near future.


To learn more about our diabetes education program, visit