University of Virginia Diabetes Tele-Education Program
- Need: To educate people in the rural parts of Virginia who either have diabetes or are considered at high risk for developing it.
- Intervention: Teleconferencing technology is used to offer diabetes education programs to people with diabetes or those at high risk for developing it. Health professionals are also indirectly trained in diabetes care and management.
- Results: Participants reported better prevention techniques and/or self-management of diabetes after being thoroughly educated about this condition.
Portions of rural Virginia are considered high diabetes
risk areas of the state. To address this problem, the
for Diabetes Prevention and Education (VCDPE) at the
University of Virginia (UVA) has offered free diabetes
prevention and management tele-education programs to
community health centers, small rural hospitals, health
districts, and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in these
parts of the state.
Rural community health centers and rural hospitals can
more efficiently use their resources by employing
teleconferencing to disseminate diabetes prevention and
diabetes self-management information. The experts in
these fields are essentially brought into each of these
organizations to educate their patients at no cost to the
Beginning in 2006, the Diabetes Tele-Education Program
was initially funded with a grant via the Virginia
Department of Health Office of Health Equity through the
Federal Office of Rural Health Policy's Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility
Program. Today, funding for this program comes from
the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC). Partners in this initiative
- UVA Diabetes Education and Management Program (DEMP)
- UVA Office of Telemedicine
- UVA Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Diabetes education courses:
- The Basics of Diabetes
- Nutrition Basics
- Diabetes Self-Management Skills
- Healthy Eating Lifestyle Changes
University of Virginia at Wise employees can take the
diabetes prevention distance learning program via
Due to COVID, the diabetes education project was modified
so that people with diabetes could attend from home.
VCDPE will also be piloting a tablet program in 2022,
where tablets are preloaded with the educational program
and are available to healthcare facilities to share with
people with diabetes.
Since 2008, the program served over 3,600 patients at
over 64 sites.
Types of sites:
- Critical Access and other hospitals
- Community Health Centers
- Free clinics
- Senior centers
- Health Departments
To learn more about this program, see the
2016 abstract presented at the American Association
of Diabetes Educators meeting.
- New site recruitment
- Site retention
- More meaningful outcome data (behavioral and medical)
- Internet access in rural areas
- COVID-19 disrupting clinical care
- Reaching the underserved
In addition, the program is working to increase the
number of participating sites in high-risk, underserved
hotspot areas of Virginia. These areas include minority
populations and the uninsured.
- Building relationships with advanced clinical sites
is key to success.
- Market the programs early to increase the number of
- Provide the sites with creative marketing materials
to share with their patients.
- Reduce streamlined educational materials.
- Add interactive opportunities/patient interaction
during each session.
Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention
March 1, 2011
Date updated or reviewed
January 12, 2022
Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub,
University of Virginia Diabetes Tele-Education Program [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at:
[Accessed 24 May 2022]
Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information
about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The
programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural
community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s
needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep
in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.