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. 

The Right Place at the Right Time

Donald PictureWhen Donald found out he had diabetes, he was terrified. He had seen the negative effects of the disease first-hand through his family members. Some of the diabetic complications he’s witnessed in his family include eye loss, amputations, heart attack and liver problems. He truly understood the damage this disease can cause if not managed properly. That’s why as soon as he got diagnosed, he wanted to take control. 

A sports lover, Donald is a New Jersey man who likes to travel, see shows, and go out and meet new people. He is a member of the Gateway Family YMCA in his town, which is where he saw a flyer for a free diabetes program happening at the YMCA.

EDC LogoThe Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP) was created by Stanford University and aims to give people with diabetes and their caregivers the education, skills and confidence they need to be in control of their health and life. The program consists of a free six-week workshop series and covers the topics of diet and exercise, medication management, effective communication with health care providers, preventing health problems and more.
When Donald saw the flyer, he didn’t second guess if he wanted to attend. He was determined to make a change to his health, and this was the perfect opportunity to start.
Donald went to the first workshop session not knowing what to expect. Workshops are interactive and include brainstorming and one-on-one communication with other participants.  Since Donald had only witnessed the consequences of diabetes in his family, he was impressed and relieved to meet people who have had diabetes for years, and who are still doing well for themselves by putting in the effort to manage their disease.
The lessons on nutrition and diet proved particularly beneficial for Donald.
“In four months, I’ve lost 30 pounds and it’s all because of eating right,” Donald proudly proclaimed.
He added that without his knowledge attained in the workshop about reading and understanding food labels, he may not have been able to do this. Donald’s been eating vegetables, white meat, and fish, and he couldn’t be happier with the result. He also now exercises regularly to complement eating healthy.
“My doctor couldn’t believe it,” Donald laughed.
The weight loss accomplishment was just a start for Donald. His A1C levels (blood sugar levels) dropped, his skin looks and feels better, and he feels stronger.
The workshop also teaches effective communication, positive thinking, decision making and problem solving. Donald now has a positive outlook when it comes to his health and credits the workshop for this.  The upbeat attitudes of the two workshop facilitators inspired Donald and made him feel reassured and confident.
Workshops also incorporate action planning, in which participants set a specific goal, rate their level of confidence and then try to reach that goal by the following week. Donald, like the other participants, made realistic goals each week and enjoyed achieving them. He says he will continue to use action plans in the future.
“I beat up a bully,” Donald said, referring to his diabetes.
Donald is proud of what he’s done so far and feels confident that he will continue to be in control of his health and diabetes. He highly recommends the program for people recently diagnosed with diabetes as well as people who have had it for years. He also believes caregivers can benefit.
“I’ll carry the sign and beat the drum,” Donald joked.
Donald is thankful he came across the workshop when he did, and even believes the workshop was sent to him from above.
Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network offers DSMP throughout New Jersey as part of the national Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) project. Quality Insights’ EDC program is supported locally by Healthcare Quality Strategies, Inc. (HQSI). Anyone interested in learning more about the program, hosting a workshop, or becoming a Peer Leader to facilitate the program can contact Karen Hale, Outreach Coordinator, at (732) 955-8148 or