Diabetes Research Study – Update!

Through funding provided by K21, we are one year into a 2-year research grant to a team of health-care workers to studying behavioral health interventions in the treatment of diabetes. This team includes three psychologists: Kevin Roberts, Psy.D., Joe Graham, Psy.D., and Thomas Edgington, Ph.D.; the Kosciusko County Health Department; local physicians; and educators Jacqueline Lowe, R.Ph., and Angela Friend, BSN. The basic hypothesis driving the research purports that it is possible to improve the long term health outcomes of individuals diagnosed with Type II Diabetes by adding a psychological component to their treatment.

Dr. Roberts and Dr. Graham gave a progress presentation to the K21 Board which showed remarkable impact for the patients in the study.  With one year into the study, 90% of the patients receiving this level of care showed improved test scores.  Dr. Roberts also pointed out that the statistical accuracy of the testing is showing a clear impact through the study.  “Our biggest challenge is trying to get a sufficient number of referrals from the medical community, so we’re working extra hard to develop those relationships with the doctors and making them aware of this ongoing study and opportunity”, Dr. Graham shared.  Almost one year into the study, they have about 150 patients out of the planned 300 over the two years.

It is the hope of the researchers that patients will see improved health related outcomes and quality of life as a result of this study. One goal of this study is to develop a new integrated care model for treating diabetes.  If successful, this new model can be utilized in Kosciusko County and elsewhere.  Possibilities of presenting results to the State of Indiana are also being pursued.

Diabetes affects 23.6 million people in the United States alone. Each year in Indiana, over $15,000 is spent per diabetes patient on health care. One challenge in treating diabetes is lifestyle change often required for people to control this potentially dangerous disease. This research study involves a comprehensive approach to treating diabetes by providing mental health services and diabetes education at the point of service. In this study, the psychological component being utilized is motivational interviewing and the Stages of Change Model.  This technique focuses on helping the participants overcome previous barriers to success in diabetes management as prescribed by their primary care physician.  It also provides encouragement and accountability for participants when they do not meet their goals. In addition, the psychologists will provide cognitive and behavioral interventions, and work to improve the patient’s problem-solving and coping skills.