The Annual African American Conference on Diabetes: Evolving Program Evaluation With Evolving Program Implementation
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The Annual African American Conference on Diabetes: Evolving Program Evaluation With Evolving Program Implementation

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    • Alternative Title:
      Prev Chronic Dis
    • Description:
      Background According to 2003 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data, South Carolina has the fourth highest rate of overall diabetes among the 50 states (9.3%) but the second highest rate among African Americans (15.5%). Nationwide, African Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes. In addition, 40% of the African American population in South Carolina lives in a rural area, and approximately 26% live at or below the poverty level. Lack of access to health care and diabetes education are additional barriers for people with diabetes and their families. Context Since 1997, the South Carolina Diabetes Prevention and Control Program and the Diabetes Today Advisory Council have sponsored the African American Conference on Diabetes, which targets African Americans with diabetes, their families, and their caregivers. This article describes the evolution of the conference and its evaluation. Methods In 2002, we conducted focus groups with 20 African American conference attendees with diabetes to 1) assess the program's effects, 2) determine how to reach more individuals, and 3) improve programming. In 2004, we incorporated the preconference and postconference Diabetes Understanding Scale survey to assess the cognitive impact of the conference on participants. Consequences Focus group results revealed that participants wanted to attend the conference because of the opportunity to increase their knowledge and change their behaviors through 1) education, 2) social support, 3) resources, and 4) logistics. Self-rated understanding increased significantly after the conference for each cognitive understanding item on the Diabetes Understanding Scale. Interpretation Focus group results suggested that participants who continue to attend the conference year after year may improve diabetes self-management skills. A quantitative evaluation showed that this 1-day diabetes education conference significantly increased short-term, self-rated cognitive understanding of diabetes behaviors.
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