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Preventive Medicine Reports

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Rural residents experience rates of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) that are considerably higher than their urban or suburban counterparts. Two primary modifiable factors, self-management and formal clinical management, have potential to greatly improve diabetes outcomes. “Community to Clinic Navigation to Improve Diabetes Outcomes,” is the first known randomized clinical trial pilot study to test a hybrid model of diabetes self-management education plus clinical navigation among rural residents with T2DM. Forty-one adults with T2DM were recruited from two federally qualified health centers in rural Appalachia from November 2014–January 2015. Community health workers provided navigation, including helping participants understand and implement a diabetes self-management program through six group sessions and, if needed, providing assistance in obtaining clinic visits (contacting providers' offices for appointments, making reminder calls, and facilitating transportation and dependent care). Pre and post-test data were collected on T2DM self-management, physical measures, demographics, psychosocial factors, and feasibility (cost, retention, and satisfaction). Although lacking statistical significance, some outcomes indicate trends in positive directions, including diet, foot care, glucose monitoring, and physical health, including decreased HbA1c and triglyceride levels. Process evaluations revealed high levels of satisfaction and feasibility. Due to the limited intervention dose, modest program expenditures (~$29,950), and a severely affected population most of whom had never received diabetes education, outcomes were not as robust as anticipated. Given high rates of satisfaction and retention, this culturally appropriate small group intervention holds promise for hard to reach rural populations. Modifications should include expanded recruitment venues, sample size, intervention dosage and longer term assessment.