New center expands diabetes prevention
Linelle Blais directs DTTAC, which works in partnership with the CDC and state health departments to prevent diabetes.
Initiative creates training networks to promote lifestyle interventions in communities
According to the CDC, an estimated 23.6 million Americans live with diabetes. The Diabetes Training and Technical Assistance Center (DTTAC) aims to reduce the burden of the disease.
Established with a $2 million grant from the CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation, DTTAC is modeled after the Tobacco Technical Assistance Consortium. Based at Rollins, both programs provide training, expertise, and materials to state public health departments to strengthen leadership, organizational capacity, and partnerships in prevention and control. DTTAC also works with the CDC's National Diabetes Prevention Program, the framework for community-based lifestyle intervention to prevent type-2 diabetes among those at high risk of the disease.
“We need to act with urgency to reach individuals and their families early if we are to prevent and reduce suffering from diabetes,” says Linelle Blais, DTTAC director. “By developing services that build capacity, our goal is to better equip local, state, and national partners to deliver evidence-based community interventions and effective diabetes programs."
DTTAC is helping spearhead the national rollout of a lifestyle intervention program modeled on research from the NIH’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) clinical trial. Wendy Childers 04MPH is heading DTTAC's effort to develop curriculum and training networks for “master trainers” and “lifestyle coaches” to lead the 16-session intervention at various sites around the country. The program seeks to prevent diabetes by helping participants adopt healthy lifestyle habits such as being physically active at least 150 minutes per week and losing 7% of their body weight. In the DPP clinical trial, participants who made these changes saw their diabetes risk drop by 58%.
The success of diabetes prevention programs at Indiana University, the University of Pittsburgh, and YMCAs around the country will also shape DTTAC training. Experts regard these examples as cost-effective models.
“Having consistent, high standards for trainers and coaches is critical for the success of lifestyle intervention programs to prevent type 2 diabetes,” says Ann Albright, director of the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation.
In October, DTTAC and its partners hosted a training program in Atlanta for more than 300 diabetes and tobacco control professionals from around the country. The program offered more than 20 courses for experts to enhance the training and technical services in diabetes and tobacco prevention that they provide for their communities.—Ashante Dobbs