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. 

Gwendolyn's Journey through Managing Diabetes

Gwendolyn“I’m feeling so good,” Gwendolyn joyfully said. “When I first came here and took the stairs, I would get winded. I came today and I am fine!”

Gwendolyn was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about four years ago. She wanted to learn more about how to manage her diabetes, so she decided to attend a free diabetes program that was scheduled at the Sam Naples Senior Center in Trenton.
EDC LogoThe Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP) was developed at Stanford University and consists of a free six-week workshop series. It is evidence-based and has helped many people around the world learn ways to take control of their health and diabetes.

“I made a lot of friends of different nationalities,” Gwendolyn said.

She also noted that throughout the six weeks, the workshop participants formed a bond. They now can count on one another for support. Knowing that other people in her community were going through similar things helped her cope.

Gwendolyn learned about guidelines to a healthy meal and now has a good sense of how and what to eat to maintain a healthier and longer life. One thing Gwendolyn does differently since she completed the workshop is no longer adding salt to her food. She now uses spices like Mrs. Dash or paprika.

Furthermore, Gwendolyn was really excited to learn how to read food labels. She now keeps this in mind and utilizes this tool when she goes grocery shopping. Gwendolyn has also been walking more and more and says she is exercising regularly throughout the week. The combination of exercising and healthy eating led Gwendolyn to successfully lose seven pounds.

Monitoring blood sugar is another important part of the workshop. Gwendolyn feels more in control and makes sure that her blood sugar levels are in a good range. She now knows what to do if her blood sugar goes too high or too low.

“I’m not perfect, but I’m getting there,” she said.

Dealing with difficult emotions such as anger, fear, and frustration is another topic discussed during the workshop. People with a chronic condition, such as diabetes, may be more likely to experience these difficult emotions. These emotions are important to manage and as a result of the workshop, Gwendolyn says she now knows healthy and positive ways to deal with stress and negative emotions.

Another essential self-management piece implemented in the workshop is action planning. At the conclusion of each session, each participant sets a short-term goal for himself or herself to accomplish within the week. The goal should be achievable and action-specific so that participants can easily measure success. For example, one week Gwendolyn had an action plan of walking to the grocery store once during the day. At the beginning of the next session, participants report on their action plan and whether they succeed or not. This goal-setting tool tends to work for and benefit many participants because they want to share with the group that they were successful.

Gwendolyn has nine energetic grandchildren and five playful great grandchildren that she is motivated to keep up with. Since completing the workshop, she now has the confidence that she will be able to do just that.

Supported locally by Healthcare Quality Strategies, Inc. (HQSI), Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network offers DSMP throughout New Jersey as part of the national Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) project. To find upcoming workshops in your area or become a host site, view this page or contact Jarmaine Williams at (732) 955-8168 or