Washington University Diabetes Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital

Diabetes Network of St. Louis

For information about this program, please contact:

Coco Bopp
Program Manager

What We Do:

The Diabetes Network of St. Louis is a collaborative that provides self-management support services to people with diabetes in community settings, such as places of worship, civic centers, community health centers and housing complexes .Working through peer-to-peer relationships, the program helps participants assess self-management behaviors, learn fundamental skills, and demand high quality medical care. Trained volunteers lead small groups of participants through guided discussions and hands-on demonstrations.

Services provided through programs of the Diabetes Network of St. Louis are not designed to replace the education and medical advice provided by professionals like certified diabetes educators, physicians, pharmacists, nutritionists, and others who should be active participants in the care of all patients with diabetes. On the contrary, the program provides a way for people with diabetes to connect with one another and, in many cases, become more activated in the decisions about their own health.

How We Started:

Building upon recommendations developed in a 2004 Health Summit sponsored by the St. Louis Regional Health Commission, the St. Louis Diabetes Coalition convened leading health service agencies to develop approaches to address diabetes self-management support needs of patients with diabetes, especially for communities at highest risk for complications. The planning phase included participation from multiple organizations who made key contributions to concept development and implementation plans: Community Health-in-Partnership Services, Institute for Family Medicine, Integrated Health Network, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, St. Louis Diabetes Coalition, St. Louis County Department of Health, and Washington University School of Medicine. Three overarching goals guided program development from the beginning: (1) reduce health disparities related to diabetes care, (2) build capacity within community leadership to support those with diabetes and (3) measure results.

After about one year of partnership-building, planning and organization, the collaborative prepared a proposal to the Missouri Foundation for Health to build the Diabetes Network of St. Louis. Funded under the Better Self-management of Diabetes initiative, the Diabetes Network of St. Louis (DNSL) project began in January 2008. The Washington University Diabetes Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital provides fiscal oversight and is the leading agent with the DNSL program. The DNSL program coordinator is housed in the Diabetes Center at Washington University School of Medicine and provides guidance to the program partners; Institute for Family Medicine and the Community Health-in-Partnership Services.  The program coordinator also provides leadership to the procurement, training, and supervision of community-based diabetes group leaders, daily program operations, curriculum materials, and data collection.  

Program Logic Model (download here)


Key Accomplishments:

  • Recruitment and collaboration with multiple community sites
  • Improvement in A1C scores and feelings of empowerment among program participants
  • Successful submission of American Diabetes Association (ADA) abstract, (see below); data to be published
  • Program data was presented by Diabetes Center Director and project Principle Investigator Garry Tobin, MD, along with Eric Armbrecht, PhD at the annual ADA meeting in June, 2009
  • Creation of "Sugar Sleuths" DVD
  • Formation of Diabetes Leadership Institute as a means to empower and educate the community about diabetes

Key Materials and Presentations: