Diabetes Connect: African American Women’s Perceptions of the Community Health Worker Model for Diabetes Care

Academic Article


  • Community health worker (CHW) interventions have potential to improve diabetes outcomes and reduce health disparities. However, few studies have explored patient perspectives of peer-delivered diabetes programs. The purpose of this qualitative study is to investigate possible benefits as well as risks of CHW-delivered peer support for diabetes from the perspectives of African American women living with type 2 diabetes in Jefferson County, Alabama. Four ninety-minute focus groups were conducted by a trained moderator with a written guide to facilitate discussion on the topic of CHWs and diabetes management. Participants were recruited from the diabetes education database at a safety-net hospital. Two independent reviewers performed content analysis to identify major themes using a combined deductive-inductive approach. There were 25 participants. Mean years with diabetes was 11.2 (range 6 months to 42 years). Participants were knowledgeable about methods for self-management but reported limited resources and stress as major barriers. Preferred CHW roles included liaison to the healthcare system and easily accessible information source. Participants preferred that the CHW be knowledgeable and have personal experience managing their own diabetes or assisting a family member with diabetes. Concerns regarding the CHW-model were possible breaches of confidentiality and privacy. The self-management strategies and barriers to management identified by participants were reflected in their preferred CHW roles and traits. These results suggest that African American women with diabetes in Alabama would support peer-led diabetes education that is community-based and socially and emotionally supportive.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Richardson BS; Willig AL; Agne AA; Cherrington AL
  • Start Page

  • 905
  • End Page

  • 911
  • Volume

  • 40
  • Issue

  • 5