The Special Diabetes Program for Indians Diabetes Prevention Demonstration Project at the Indian Health Board of Minneapolis, Minnesota serves one of the largest urban American Indian and Alaska Native communities in the nation. Program staff include a dietitian who is also the program coordinator, two lifestyle coaches, a project recruitment specialist and a data coordinator.
Urban Indian health programs typically have a hard time recruiting participants into their programs. However, as a result of this program's extensive community outreach and recruitment activities, participant recruitment has been one of its greatest achievements.
The program has screened over 550 community members for diabetes, and over 100 participants are actively involved in program activities. Program staff “go everywhere and go to everything” to conduct screenings and recruit participants. For example, one of the program's best recruiting events is its annual health fair, co-sponsored by the local farmer's market, which draws between 1,000 and 1,500 attendees annually. The program also provides education at regional Tribal reservations, and works in partnership with and provides referrals to other Urban Indian health and community programs. Incentives have encouraged participation and have been used successfully by the program.
A major challenge faced by the program has been the cost of services, including labs and exams. To address this challenge, the program uses a sliding-scale fee to help cover the costs of labs and exams, and it allocates grant funds to pay for these services for those who are uninsured.
- Extensive community outreach and recruitment efforts are the keys to the success of this program. The program has found that reaching participants where they live and congregate, as well as offering activities in the evenings and on weekends, contributes to its success.
- The Running Wolf Fitness Center has helped retain program participants by offering community members free access to its facilities and exercise equipment, providing structured exercise classes and follow-up classes for program graduates, and offering a personal trainer to program participants.
- Collaboration with the program's partners is essential in its efforts to reach and keep participants involved.