BCBS is Helping Lawndale Become CHAMPions of Diabetes Management

BCBS is Helping Lawndale Become CHAMPions of Diabetes Management

Are you living with diabetes in Chicago? What if someone could find a way to make it easy to control blood sugar levels? Seven years ago Sinai Urban Health Institute (SUHI) led the Lawndale Diabetes Project, a study that is working towards just that by providing in-home diabetes education and referrals to outside resources to Lawndale residents that were diagnosed with high blood sugar levels by a community health worker. This research revealed that North Lawndale had a diabetes community prevalence of 29.1%. Three and a half times the national rate.

Diabetes is a big deal

The diabetes mortality rate in North Lawndale is 62% higher than for the U.S. overall, and 37% higher than Chicago’s rate alone. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois partnered with SUHI during phase one of the study, where results demonstrated that those enrolled in the program experienced improved glucose levels, decreased waistlines and body mass index (BMI) with improved diet, education, exercise and diabetes medication use. Now that the first phase has concluded Sinai and BCBSIL have partnered for phase 2 of the study which is called Controlling Hypergylcemia among Minority Populations or CHAMP.

CHAMP takes this work to the next level by testing the community health worker and text message interventions (described below) in  a study in which people are assigned at random to receive one of those interventions or to act as a control.. At the end of the intervention, the groups are compared to look for differences in blood glucose control and other health outcomes.

So how will CHAMP work and what is the plan?

The plan is to find cost-effective ways to reduce the burden of uncontrolled diabetes in a disadvantaged community. To achieve this goal SUHI will randomize the study participants into three groups, a community health worker group, a text message group and a control group. 

  • For those in the community health worker intervention group, participants will receive 6 monthly visits at their home, monthly phone check-ins and intermittent home visits.
  • Participants in the text message group will receive 3-4 text messages per week for 6-months by Caremessage.
  • Participants in the control group will receive usual care through the hospital such as a visit with a diabetes educator or dietitian, appointment to visit a primary care physician or care coordination through the participants managed care provider.

The program hopes to achieve a reduction in the participants’ blood glucose levels as well as increase primary care use by participants, increase in diabetes related knowledge and self-management behaviors.