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April Partner Spotlight

The Minnesota Diabetes and Heart Health Collaborative Uses NDEP Resources to Promote Diabetes Management and the Link between Diabetes and Heart Health

BackgroundMinnesota Diabetes and Heart Health Collaborative

The Minnesota Diabetes & Heart Health Collaborative Initiatives (MN-DC) was convened in 2000 with a mission to promote diabetes messages and spread best practices for diabetes care statewide. The MN-DC is chaired jointly by the Minnesota Department of Health and Stratis Health – a Medicare Quality Improvement Organization – and includes 18 nonprofit members representing health plans, advocacy, and quality improvement and public health organizations.

Outreach and Promotions

The MN-DC provides a variety of diabetes educational tools to meet needs of adults with diabetes and underserved populations in Minnesota. Using information from NDEP’s 4 Steps to Control Your Diabetes. For Life., Know Your Diabetes ABCs, and Diabetes HealthSense, the MN-DC developed a low literacy patient education toolset used by health educators, community health workers, local public health practitioners, and others. A key element of the toolset is a set of health literacy instructional sheets – designed for use with non-English-speaking people, recent immigrants, the deaf and hard of hearing, the elderly, and others struggling to manage their diabetes due to low health literacy – which uses pictures and a low literacy script for educators with tips for managing diabetes and making healthy behavior changes. The 24 instructional sheets explain various diabetes self-care topics and behavior change tips. Each has a goal setting worksheet to help patients record their readiness for making a change for better health, their goals, questions for their health care team, and their plans for taking the first step.

Minnesota Diabetes and Heart Health Collaborative Additionally, the MN-DC used NDEP’s Take Care of Your Heart. Manage Your Diabetes and Know Your Diabetes ABCs resources to develop patient education handouts and fact sheets for health care professionals, all using simple messaging, resource links, and colorful graphics to help people “Make the Link” between diabetes and heart disease. To promote the “Make the Link” messaging, the MN-DC also developed and published print advertisements and news releases for local media outlets.

Minnesota Diabetes and Heart Health Collaborative - Is Diabetes or Heart Disease in Your Family Tree?The MN-DC also implemented a “Is Diabetes or Heart Disease in Your Family Tree?” campaign to raise awareness about family health history as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and diabetes-related health problems like heart disease. Campaign materials – based on content from the “Am I at Risk?” section of the NDEP website – include: family history fact sheets, news releases, radio PSAs in five languages, print advertisements, patient handouts, and even a hand-held fan with simple steps to help people reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes.

Lessons Learned

Through these activities, the MN-DC learned many lessons that can be applied to other NDEP partners’ outreach and promotions efforts:

  • Content expertise is not needed by group if using information and resources from NDEP.
  • To reach audiences at a low cost, leverage existing communication vehicles through partnerships.
  • People prefer simple, plain language materials with photos (especially photos that are culturally appropriate).
  • People with diabetes and/or heart disease are effective advocates of prevention messages with their families and communities.

For more information about the Minnesota Diabetes and Heart Health Collaborative’s activities, contact Laurel Reger, MBA, at

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March Partner Spotlight

The Kentucky Department for Public Health’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Program (KDPCP) Uses NDEP Resources to Promote Diabetes Alert Day


March 2013 Partner Spotlight - Kentucky Department for Public Health's Diabetes Prevention and Control Program The Kentucky Department for Public Health’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Program (KDPCP) is a public health initiative consisting of a network of state, regional and local health professionals whose mission is to reduce new cases of diabetes as well as the sickness, disability and death associated with diabetes and its complications.

Outreach and Promotions

In observance of American Diabetes Association® Diabetes Alert Day 2012, the KDPCP used NDEP’s Diabetes Alert Day campaign resources to raise awareness of diabetes, diabetes risk factors, and behavior change messages to its network of more than 600 partners, including employers, health plans, health care professionals, hospitals and health centers, faith communities, professional associations, universities, and state and local diabetes coalitions. As a result of the KDPCP’s Diabetes Alert Day outreach and partner collaborations, many partners also promoted Diabetes Alert Day to their own networks – reaching an even larger audience.

To kick off Diabetes Alert Day outreach efforts, the KDPCP promoted NDEP’s Diabetes Alert Day resources by distributing the March issue of NDEP’s News & Notes, encouraging readers to add NDEP’s Diabetes Alert Day e-signatures to their email, use NDEP’s prewritten Facebook and Twitter messages, and post NDEP’s Diabetes Alert Day web buttons to their websites. Many of the KDPCP’s partners reported using these easy, budget-friendly ways to raise awareness of diabetes risk factors and resources – such as NDEP’s Just One Step tool – to help people make lifestyle changes to prevent type 2 diabetes.

The KDPCP and its partners also distributed NDEP’s Diabetes Alert Day press release through a variety of outlets across Kentucky. For example, the KDPCP submitted the press release to state media outlets including 149 newspapers, 126 radio stations, and 29 television stations. Additionally, the KDPCP encouraged partners to adapt and localize the release for their own communities. Partners reported that they submitted the release to their local newspapers, published it in their member/employee/consumer newsletters, shared it on their organizations’ websites, and distributed it to clients including pharmacies, senior centers, and hospitals.

March 2013 Partner Spotlight - Kentucky Department for Public Health's Diabetes Prevention and Control Program Other promotions included sharing NDEP’s Diabetes Alert Day messages through presentations, bulletin and electronic marquee boards, screening events, and church bulletin inserts. The KDPCP also distributed Diabetes Alert Day messages in a payroll stuffer distributed to 35,000 state employees (see example to the left).


To evaluate Diabetes Alert Day outreach efforts, the KDPCP used a web-based reporting system to collect and monitor information about activities and potential exposure to Diabetes Alert Day messages. In March 2012, there were 174 total activities implemented, reaching an audience of more than 1,314,255 people.

For more information about the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Program, visit or contact Reita Jones at Also be sure to visit for resources you can use to promote Diabetes Alert Day 2013 in your community.

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Diabetes Alert Day

American Diabetes Association Alert Day®, observed annually on the fourth Tuesday in March – Tuesday, March 26, 2013 – is a one-day wake-up call to inform the American public about the seriousness of diabetes, particularly when diabetes is left undiagnosed or untreated.

In observance of Diabetes Alert Day, the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) is encouraging people to find out if they are at risk for type 2 diabetes by taking the Diabetes Risk Test and talking to their family about their family history of diabetes. If left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health problems including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, amputation, and even death.

Visit for tools you can use to help people learn about their risk for type 2 diabetes, including the Diabetes Risk Test, Family Health History Quiz, and the 4 Questions You Should Ask Your Family about Diabetes and Family Health History tool.

You can also find promotional tools you can use to promote Diabetes Alert Day in your community, including a template press release, feature articles, web buttons, email signatures, social media messages, and more.

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American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month, a great opportunity to raise awareness about what Americans can do to live heart-healthy lives. For people with diabetes, it is particularly important to take care of your heart because having diabetes means you are more likely to have a heart attack or a stroke—but it doesn’t have to. People with diabetes can take steps to lower their chances of developing heart disease and other heart problems by managing their ABCs of diabetes – A1C, Blood pressure, and Cholesterol.

Visit for resources to help you raise awareness about the ABCs of diabetes and the link between diabetes and your heart, including a new infographic that explains why it’s important to take care of your heart if you have diabetes, and steps you can take to lower your risk for heart problems.

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February Partner Spotlight

Migrant Health Promotion Uses NDEP Tools to Implement a “Promotora Community Program” to Improve the Health of Farmworkers and Rural Communities Affected by Diabetes


Migrant Health Promotion (MHP) builds on community strengths to improve health in farmworker and border communities. MHP’s programs provide peer health education, increase access to health resources, and bring community members together with health providers, employers, and policymakers to create positive health changes. MHP's great work demonstrates how community leaders, called Promotores and Promotoras, February 2013 Partner Spotlight Image: Migrant Health Promotion can provide inspiration, direction, and vision necessary to build stronger, healthier communities.

Outreach and Promotions

With support from the Texas Department of State Health Services' Diabetes Program and resources from the NDEP, Migrant Health Promotion implemented a “Promotora Community Program” (PCP) in Hidalgo County, Florida. The goal of the PCP is to promote healthy lifestyle changes by educating community members about their risk for type 2 diabetes and ways to prevent or manage the disease through healthy eating and physical activity.

As part of the PCP, Migrant Health Promotion used NDEP tools to coordinate activities that are culturally and linguistically appropriate to the population served by MHP. For example, the program organized cooking and nutrition classes using recipes from NDEP’s Más que comida, es vida. (It's more than food. It's Life.) bilingual (English February 2013 Partner Spotlight Image: Migrant Health Promotion: Pullquote and Spanish) recipe book, teaching people how to how make traditional Mexican food with healthier, diabetes-friendly ingredients. The program also used NDEP's bilingual The Road to Health Toolkit and Movimiento por su vida music CD to host diabetes health education sessions and exercise groups focused on encouraging people to make healthy behavior changes like eating more fruits and vegetables, reading food labels when grocery shopping, drinking water instead of sugary drinks, and tips for making physical activity a part of their daily lives.

As of August 2012, MHP conducted more than 100 sessions with a total of more than 1,500 program participants. Participants reported that their knowledge of diabetes and the importance of healthy eating and physical activity increased, noting that they have started making better food choices and being more active. One participant added, "If it wasn't for the PCP, I would have never made the time to exercise. Since I have joined the exercise group, I feel more motivated, more energetic, and agile."

For more information about Migrant Health Promotion and the Promotora Community Program, visit or contact Colleen Reinert at

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