The Special Diabetes Program for Indians Diabetes Prevention Demonstration Project at the Health Promotion Disease Prevention Department at Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation (TCRHCC) serves eight small Navajo communities, two Hopi villages, and members of the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe. In addition to the project director and project coordinator, the staff includes advising physicians, a project assistant, a data specialist, and a community activity specialist.
Community-based activities are an important part of the program’s successful participant retention rate in the DPP and in the After-Core maintenance program. For example, program staff work with a variety of community partners to identify individuals who qualify for the program.
Program staff use a number of creative teaching methods for the DPP Lifestyle Balance Program (Core program), including:
- An adventure-based learning approach that improves the interaction among group participants with visual and hands-on learning activities. This approach also helps adapt the curriculum to participants' different learning styles.
- The “Conversation Café”, a group activity that helps participants address issues related to emotional wellness.
- A group consensus building approach that helps the participants become self-motivated and self-driven.
Program staff trained TCRHCC Community Health Representatives (CHRs) to deliver the DPP Lifestyle Balance Program at seven small Navajo communities. This expanded the delivery of the program to outlying communities, and the close collaboration between the program and CHRs resulted in consistent, quality nutrition education in this rural American Indian community setting.
One of the most successful activities of the program is the Rez Fitness Leaders Program. It involves training local fitness leaders who are trusted community members to provide fitness support to program participants and to train volunteer leaders to assist in community fitness activities. Through their efforts there is more community involvement in healthy activities.
The program considers its collaborative working relationships with other community groups and within the health center to be a key element of its success. These partnerships have helped the program recruit and retain participants, expand the program to outlying communities, develop strategies, and implement program elements that are realistic, culturally appropriate, and designed to meet the specific needs of each community.