Alliance to Reduce Disparities in Diabetes

Chicago Team at the 2014 APHA Annual Meeting

Helping communities help themselves: The roles of peer health leaders in a farmer's market to provide culturally-tailored nutrition and diabetes education

142nd American Public Health Association Annual Meeting
12:30 PM - 2:00 PM, Tuesday, November 18, 2014
New Orleans, LA

T. Roberson, M. Solomon, M. Peek, M.H. Chin, Y. O'Neal, & N. Geary

Chicago’s South Side is a working-class African-American community, with disproportionate rates of diabetes. Community-based strategies to provide nutrition education can be effective, but are often not sustainable because they rely on volunteer health professionals (e.g. dieticians, certified diabetes educators) rather than community members themselves.

Program Description
We developed an innovative, culturally-tailored program to train peer health leaders to lead nutrition tours at a local farmer’s market (located within a food desert), and provide education about nutrition and diabetes. Community members were recruited through multiple venues (e.g. health clinics, community centers). A multi-disciplinary team developed the curriculum, which was taught by a registered dietician. Peer health leaders were given a complete script and farmer’s market tour guidelines.

36 community members completed the training and  pre/post surveys were administered to measure their knowledge. The majority were African American (83%) and female (69%). Approximately one-third (37%) had type 2 diabetes and 14% were graduates of our team’s diabetes education program. The average age was 45 years (range: 17 – 74).

To date, over 200 community members have participated in the weekly tours led by these peer health educators and the program has been very successful. Local politicians (e.g, alderman, governor, state representatives) have noted the program and the feedback from the peer leaders and community members have been uniformly positive. The combination of peer health educators and a community resource for healthy food (e.g. farmer’s market) is a promising venue to provide sustainable, culturally-tailored diabetes and nutrition education within low-income African-American communities.

Learning Areas
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives
Demonstrate how peer health education can be sustainable and successfully draw community members in a community setting to increase nutrition knowledge.