January and February brought some new faces to the Diabetes Workgroup and some new energy to tackle the challenge for so many health programs--the gap between the NEED for high-quality programs (in this case, programs to help the tens of thousands of people in our community prevent the onset of diabetes or to better manage their diabetes through simple lifestyle changes) and the DEMAND for such programs. Here is a great article from Stanford Social Innovation about this very topic. We need to figure out how to design these programs and and package them and communicate about them in such a way that community members who need them most begin to seek them out tell their neighbors and friends about them and ask their doctors for the details! Part of this begins by working WITH the community members we want to enroll from the beginning, learning from them and inviting them to shape the messages and programs that will, indeed, be appealing and meet the needs they express and not the ones we imagine they have.
We walked through and discussed/added to our work plan, which we will revisit at each meeting and tweak as necessary. We are still looking for creative ways to engage with clinicians to let them know of all the community-based programs and resources that exist in Buncombe County and give them the tools to refer their clients directly, and progress has been made in that area with specific providers. Our next meeting, on March 20, will include a presentation from our local 211 director, Marla Browne, about how we might partner more closely with 211 to make that a "single entry point" for all the diabetes resources in the community.
For more information about this workgroup, its goals, action items, etc., please click "Workgroup Overview" on the right sidebar. You can also click here to see the Community Scorecard--local diabetes data, active partners, current initiatives and community strategies.