New Jersey success stories

NJ Local Success Stories
Quality improvement endeavors can often feel overwhelming, but chances are, you can learn from the experiences that another physician, hospital or nursing home has had in a similar situation. Coupled with support from Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network, learning what has worked for others — and what didn't — is a valuable strategic planning component. 

Giving People with Diabetes the Skills and Education They Need

Margie PictureMargie, an avid card player who enjoys going to casinos in Atlantic City or Pennsylvania when she can, has had diabetes for about seven years, but never tried to actively manage her disease until recently. When she was first diagnosed with diabetes, her doctor provided her with a video to watch about the disease. She watched the video, but said it did not add much value to her life or give her the education she really wanted. 

EDC LogoRecently, Margie decided to take action and commit to improving her health. She found out about a free diabetes education program that was taking place at the Gateway Family YMCA in her town. She was intrigued, considering she always wanted to learn more about her disease.
The Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP), created by Stanford University, consists of workshops that take place once a week for six weeks. Participants learn about diabetes risks, how to prevent health problems, how to read and understand food labels, effective communication with healthcare providers, and more. The participants, no more than 20 but no less than 10, spend a lot of time interacting with each other. The program encourages a “buddy” system where participants call one another each week to see how they are doing on the goal(s) they set for themselves.
Prior to the workshop, she did not know what or how much to eat. The lessons on nutrition and diet taught Margie the importance of reading and understanding food labels.
“I wanted to learn more about it and how to eat,” Margie said. “It made me aware of what I was eating. I didn’t know what food to shop for.”
Margie now knows what to look for and has cut a lot of sweets, starches, and greasy food from her diet that she used to eat often. She feels a lot healthier and is happy to be aware of how to count fats, proteins, carbohydrates and more.
Margie also mentioned that her blood sugar is below 200 for the first time since being a diabetic.
“My sugar was sky high,” she confessed.
She is proud that she was able to lower it through eating healthier and exercising. Margie now enjoys going for walks, which she never used to do before the workshops. She is thankful that the program was the main contributing factor in giving her the education she wanted and needed to lower her blood sugar.
At the final workshop session, participants receive a free book, called Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions, to complement the content learned in the first six weeks of the workshop. Margie said she often uses the book to remind herself what she learned about food labels and a healthy plate.
Margie believes that diabetics – both recently diagnosed and those who have had it for years – would benefit from this program. Inspired, she even wants to bring the program to the building where she lives.
“It would be good if other people participated and learned more about it,” Margie said. “I’m happy and I’m more aware.”
Margie now has the self-management skills she has always wanted and is more prepared to manage her diabetes and her life.
DSMP is facilitated throughout New Jersey by Healthcare Quality Strategies, Inc. (HQSI), a member of the Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network. DSMP is part of the national Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) program. If you would like more information about the program or how you can get involved in this important initiative, contact Jarmaine Williams at (732) 955-8168 or, or visit