Clinic to community connections: Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM) prevention among low income women with gestational diabetes

Cynthia Herrick, M.D., MPHS

Project Summary:

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and contributes to heart disease, the leading cause of death. We must prevent diabetes to promote longer life. The central goal of this project is to test a program that teaches practical skills to prevent diabetes. The program focuses on women who have high blood sugar first detected during pregnancy (gestational diabetes). This condition usually resolves after pregnancy, but it is an early warning sign of future risk for diabetes. Almost half of women will develop type 2 diabetes in the 5-10 years after a pregnancy with gestational diabetes.

We know that time-intensive programs focused on healthy diet, exercise, and behavior change can cut diabetes risk in half. However, these programs are not designed for women during and after pregnancy and are often not practical in this setting. We propose a modified program that fits the needs of this unique group. Our program is delivered by a community health worker who can support women in addition to their healthcare providers. Through educational sessions during the last part of pregnancy and in the first 3 months postpartum, we hope to promote early detection and prevention of type 2 diabetes for high-risk women. This project will allow us to gather information to support testing this program on a larger scale.