Navigation Links
Penn researchers find mentoring provides health benefits for African American veterans with diabetes

(Philadelphia) Intervention by peer mentors has a statistically significant effect on improving glucose control in African American veterans with diabetes, according to a study by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP). Full results of the study were published in the March 20th issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

In the study 118 African American veterans aged 50-70 years old with persistently poor diabetes control were randomly assigned to three groups: those receiving their usual care (the control group for the study), those receiving peer mentoring, and those offered financial incentives if their glucose control improved. Mentors were matched with the diabetes patients according to sex and age.

"Our goal was to determine whether peer mentors or financial incentives would help African American veterans improve their glycosylated hemoglobin levels (HbA1c) a marker of diabetes control better than conventional care," said Judith A. Long, MD, associate professor of Medicine in the Department of General Internal Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine, and lead author of the study. "We performed this study in an African American population because African Americans have higher rates of diabetes and more complications resulting from the disease than other populations."

Diabetes patients receiving their usual care were notified of their starting levels and recommended goals for HbA1c. Those in the mentor group were assigned mentors who previously had poor glycemic control but now had good control. Mentors participated in hour-long one-on-one training, including motivational interviewing techniques, and were informed that they would receive $20 per month if the diabetes patient confirmed that they had talked at least once a week. Those in the financial incentive group were told they would earn $100 if their HbA1c dropped by one point and $200 if it dropped by two points or to a level of 6.5%.

In the six-month study, intervention by the peer mentors had a statistically significant effect in improving glucose control. On average, diabetes patients in the mentor group saw their HbA1c drop by approximately one percent (from 9.8 to 8.7). HbA1c levels in the financial incentive group dropped from 9.5 to 9.1, while the control group saw the smallest change (from 9.9 to 9.8). .

The authors of the study note that several factors may have contributed to the success of the peer mentor intervention. First, those in the mentor group may have benefited from a culture of camaraderie among the veteran participants. Second, social altruism may be a powerful motivator if patients are provided with a mechanism to help each other. Third, a history of mistreatment and distrust in the health care system may make peer support particularly effective for minorities. Finally, mentors were given $20 to talk to the patients at least four times per month. This financial incentive may have motivated mentors to call more frequently.

Previous studies have shown that social support can improve diabetes self-management behaviors, such as adhering to medication, diet, exercise, and blood glucose monitoring. However, these studies generally involved nurse phone calls or home visits from community health workers, which require expensive professional or semi-professional staff members. In addition, support from families and friends is often not a viable alternative because many high-risk patients are socially isolated, while others may not want to engage relatives or friends in discussions about their medical problems. Finding family members and friends who are able to assume caretaker roles is also often a challenge for many patients.

"Our study raises the possibility that a more informal, flexible means of providing one-on-one peer support through peer coaches or mentors could potentially provide larger benefits at low cost," said Kevin G. Volpp, MD, professor of Medicine and Health Care Management and director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, and the principal investigator on the grant that funded the study.


Contact: Katie Delach
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Related medicine news :

1. Mayo Clinic researchers building melanoma vaccine to combat skin cancer
2. Evidence builds that meditation strengthens the brain, UCLA researchers say
3. Wilmot researchers create new way to study liver cancer
4. Researchers develop first theranostic treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
5. Researchers find possible genetic keys to surviving epithelial ovarian cancer
6. Researchers discover possible approach to the treatment of aggressive breast cancer
7. Researchers ID gene behind primary cervical dystonia, a neck-twisting disorder
8. Researchers find sarcoma tumor immune response with combination therapy
9. Mayo researchers provide atomic view of a histone chaperone
10. Researchers find potential solution to melanomas resistance to vemurafenib
11. Kessler Foundation researchers present at DC Conference on Race, Ethnicity and Disabilities
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... ... Dr. John Pierce, Medical Director at the Ageless Forever clinic in Las ... Pro laser therapy cap. FDA cleared for safety and efficacy, the Capillus272 offers men ... surgery, prescription pills, or topical foams. , “Capillus272™ Pro is a home-use device ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 2015 , ... On November 10, 2015, Bohrer Brady, LLC filed a class ... of a home health care worker who provided companionship services for the elderly, ill ... employed by Humana, Inc., Humana at Home, Inc., and SeniorBridge Family Companies (CT), Inc. ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... According to an article ... being more and more widely heralded as a breakthrough for performing hernia repairs. The ... over traditional laparoscopic surgery is that it can greatly reduce the pain that a ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Dental professionals who would like to ... are invited to attend Dr. Mark Iacobelli’s Advanced Implant Mentoring (AIM) CE course. Courses ... , As the co-founders of Advanced Implant Mentoring (AIM), Dr. Iacobelli and Dr. ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Wimbledon ... programs, launches new Wimbledon Athletics Facebook page to educate the public, ... unsuspected cardiac abnormalities. About 2,000 people under the age of 25 die from ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , Nov. 26, 2015 Research and ... the "Advanced Wound Care Market by Type (Dressings, ... End User (In-Patient Facility, Out-Patient Facility), and Geography - ... --> --> ... description, definition and forecast of the global advanced wound ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26, 2015 ... adds "Global Repaglinide Industry 2015 ... on China Repaglinide Market, 2010-2019" reports ... and information to its online business ... . --> ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 Research and Markets ( ... "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in the ... Country Segment Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging Opportunities" ... --> --> This new 247-page ... therapeutic drug monitoring market, including emerging tests, technologies, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: