Northeast Louisiana Regional Pre-Diabetes Prevention Program
- Need: To prevent or slow the progression of diabetes for at-risk residents in Rural Northeast Louisiana.
- Intervention: The North Louisiana Regional Alliance developed a program that offered screenings, education, and an intense course for participants throughout the Northeast Louisiana region to lower the risk of diabetes.
- Results: The program saw an overall decrease in blood sugar levels in residents who participated in their initiatives.
The Northeast Louisiana Regional Pre-Diabetes Prevention
Project (RPDP) was created by the North Louisiana
Regional Alliance (NLRA) Health Network in response to
medical providers' growing concerns about the lack of
disease prevention and management programs in their rural
areas. Using the American
Diabetes Association as their guide, they set up a
pilot project in Louisiana's Richland Parish in 2009 that
expanded to Franklin, Morehouse, Richland, Tensas, and
Union parishes with outreach activities reaching to East
Carroll, West Carroll, and Madison parishes.
All five parishes RPDP served are designated as Medically
Underserved Areas (MUAs) and Health Professional Shortage
Areas (HPSAs). According to research funded by the Health
Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), diabetes
was reported as one of the top health disparities in the
area. They found that the rate of elevated blood sugars
was higher than the national average, and people were not
concerned about reducing them.
RPDP's goal was to help prevent or slow diabetes
- Repeated adult screenings over a 3 year period
- Health education that promoted behavioral and
- Medical management with
Partners of RPDP included organizations that are NLRA
members, shared a desire to implement a diabetes
prevention program, and had the capabilities of
implementing a project in their respective parishes.
RPDP partners included:
This program received support from a
2012-2015 Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Rural
Health Care Services Outreach grant. The program is
no longer active.
Through a heavy promotional campaign, 64,000 people were
exposed to information regarding RPDP's progressive
diabetes prevention track. Below is an outline of their
diabetes prevention initiatives.
Prediabetes screenings – The RPDP sets
up screenings in different locations, including local
businesses that promote the screenings to the public
and their employees.
Point-of-contact education – Every
participant received health education during the time
of their screening, including their current health
status and their risk of developing diabetes and other
Follow-up testing – If the screening's
result suggested the participant was prediabetic, they
were asked to come back for additional tests.
Pre-Diabetes Prevention Program (PDP)
– After a prediabetes diagnosis, an intensive course
invited the participant to attend regular health
assessments, screenings, personal wellness profiles,
health education sessions, one-on-one coaching
sessions, and advice on diet and exercise. Participants
also received a monthly newsletter, bimonthly phone
calls, and an annual PDP dinner invitation for extra
Certified Diabetes Education
Development – This certification qualified
clinicians to offer in-depth education to other
healthcare professional on issues that included
prediabetes diagnoses, treatments, and the risks of
type 2 diabetes.
- 1,839 people completed a prediabetes screening,
exceeding their original goal by 125% in the second year
of the program
- 1,659 screenings were conducted on participants who
had never before been screened, of which 10.7% met the
preliminary criteria for prediabetes
- Over one quarter (26.7%) of PDP enrollees graduated
with normal blood sugar scores
Nearly 42% of enrollees
who were re-screened during the third year of the
program improved their A1C (blood sugar) scores, while
almost 47% improved their fasting blood sugar levels
- As a result of this project, 6 clinicians became
Certified Diabetes Educators
- RPDP launched an annual
"Grin & Bear It" 5K/10K race in Richland
Parish. Local businesses sponsored over 100 runners
from all over Northeast Louisiana
This program was inspiration for The
Adolescent Pre-Diabetes Prevention Program, managed
by Richland Parish Hospital.
- The FDA ruled against any off-label (non-FDA
approved) use of certain tests. The RPDP complied, but
due to higher cost, more stringent screening methods and
longer test-processing times, they had to close their
prediabetes screenings across the region during the third
year of the program.
- Specific processes established by the Richland Parish
were difficult to duplicate on a broader scale.
- Commitment from participants was inconsistent. Many
who signed up for the PDP course did not take full
advantage of the opportunities offered to them.
- Personnel turnover in partner parishes was a
continual problem during the grant period
Many of the lessons learned through the RDPD experiences
were put into an extensive toolkit that can be accessed
upon request. Below are a few of key principles:
- Take the initiative with community partnerships. They
will see your dedication, and their trust will be
- Seek out other prediabetes programs in your area and
offer to collaborate with their efforts.
- As you initially collaborate with your partners,
decide on a shared mission, vision, and strategic
- Engage a program evaluator in the early stages of
your planning and act on their input.
- Rigorously work out your screening model by setting
up a pilot program before launching your services
- Use multi-media avenues, including traditional and
social media, in promoting your prediabetes screening and
diabetes prevention information to your communities.
- Have experienced staff from your pilot project work
side-by-side with new staff, closely training them on how
to conduct the screenings.
- When conducting screenings, ask the patient if they
are already aware of their blood levels and take time to
talk about them. One-on-one education about the dangers
of high blood sugar levels is an important aspect in
- Use a system that collects and stores data in a way
that can be easily retrieved and analyzed.
Charlotte Poland, RN, Certified Diabetes Educator
Richland Parish Hospital
Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention
November 6, 2015
Date updated or reviewed
October 4, 2021
Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub,
Northeast Louisiana Regional Pre-Diabetes Prevention Program [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at:
[Accessed 8 December 2022]
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programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural
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