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Diabetes: A Family Matter

The Toolkit: Introduction

Assumptions Underlying the Toolkit Development

Assumptions impact the ways we see and understand problems and their solutions. It seems appropriate to state the assumptions that influenced the way this program and toolkit were envisioned and created.

These assumptions are:

  • Diabetes is a growing problem in the geographic region known as Appalachia, a largely Caucasian population where many live in rural places.
  • While Appalachia does not have a single culture throughout the entire region, shared traditions and traits are threaded through the lives of many born and raised here.
  • Diabetes education and teaching materials targeting the Appalachian population are lacking.
  • Family is an important aspect of daily lives of those tied to and rooted in Appalachia.
  • Family-focused diabetes educational materials are largely unavailable, but could be useful for individuals and families living in the Appalachian region.
  • Primary care seems inadequate to meet the holistic care needs of persons and their families as they live with diabetes.
  • Diabetes experts (e.g., endocrinologists, certified diabetes educators, medical specialists) and other health practitioners (e.g., ophthalmologists, dentists, podiatrists, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc.) are not accessible to many in Appalachia.
  • Traditional forms of health or diabetes education are not effectively impacting the lived experiences of Appalachia’s families and innovative methods to increase healthy lifestyle behaviors, diabetes prevention, and diabetes self-management are needed.
  • Evidence suggests that community programs that include volunteers and target individuals and families have successfully addressed diabetes in other cultural groups where similar forms of social networks and social health determinants exist.
  • Excellent diabetes education materials for health professionals already exist with many available for free through internet access.
  • Persons that access and use the Diabetes: A Family Matter program and toolkit will have at least basic knowledge about healthy lifestyles, diabetes prevention, and diabetes self-management.
  • Diabetes educators living in Appalachia may not be knowledgeable about community or population health, forming to working with coalitions, or the development, implementation, and evaluation of a sustainable volunteer program.
  • While broadband access is not available to many homes in Appalachia, access continues to grow and people in most communities have some internet access through schools, libraries, and health care providers.
  • Social networking can take many forms and can be a valuable tool for mobilizing people and groups in rural communities.