Programs & Initiatives in Communities Somali National Diabetes Prevention Program Curriculum Adaptation Project

Programs & Initiatives in Communities
Somali Diabetes Prevention Program Curriculum Adaptation

The Diabetes Unit and University of the Minnesota’s Health and Nutrition Extension program are working together to make adaptations to the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) curriculum for the Somali population. The Extension program has a long history of working with low income and diverse cultural groups, making them an ideal partner for this project.

Each cultural group is unique in how it receives and interprets health information. In order to have the best chance for information to be understood and adopted, it should be relatable and culturally relevant. Taking into consideration cultural beliefs, customs and habits when asking people to make changes to their daily lives.

Diabetes Prevention Program

The DPP is a cost-effective, proven program, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The DPP helps participants make real lifestyle changes like eating healthier, including physical activity in their daily lives, and improving problem-solving and coping skills.

The DPP is most often offered in English and uses western cultural references. This limitation leaves out high risk groups that can benefit from this lifestyle change program.  

Cultural adaptation

Starting in the fall of 2015, Extension began working with in-house Somali educators and Somali cultural guides on planning, translating, piloting and documenting the cultural adaptations to the DPP curriculum. Gathering information from focus groups and meeting with community members, Extension has made changes to better relate and work with the Somali community to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes in Minnesota

Despite being one of the healthiest states in the country, Minnesota has one the nation’s widest disparities in health between its white and nonwhite populations. One of these disparities is in prediabetes. Prediabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes.

Without intervention, people with prediabetes are at a greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes, a leading cause of death and disability in the U.S. In Minnesota there is an estimated 1.5 million people with prediabetes and 90 percent of them don’t know they have it.

Adaptation progress

Initial reports coming from the Extension focus groups are positive with participants and cultural guides providing feedback on how to make the program more effective for their community. The newly adapted program will be pilot tested in 2016 in Willmar Minnesota. The project has found that Somali community member in Willmar are aware that diabetes is a health issues, and are interested in participating in strategies to address and reduce new cases of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

It is the goal of the Diabetes Unit to receive CDC approval for the Somali adapted version of the curriculum, and make it available to others interested here in Minnesota and across the nation.

For more information

To learn more about the DPP visit Programs & Initiatives in Communities – Diabetes Prevention and Management Programs

Hear testimony from a We Can Prevent Diabetes – Somali study participant about their experience in the DPP

To learn more about the Somali Diabetes Prevention Program curriculum adaptation, please contact Houa Vue-Her at Houa.Vue-Her@state.mn.us