By Humsini Aarakali
Four people from Arogya World – India-based Healthy Workplace consultants Bala Aryan and Dr. Geeta Bharadwaj, a US board member Dr. Seema Bhatia, and US volunteer Humsini Arakali, recently completed the National Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach training course in Atlanta. The training was conducted by the Diabetes Training and Technical Assistance Center (DTTAC) at Emory University. As a partner of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP), DTTAC provides in-person training, as well as ongoing web-based learning resources, for Lifestyle Coaches delivering the evidence-based National DPP lifestyle change program, known to prevent diabetes. To date, DTTAC has trained over 700 Lifestyle Coaches representing more than 350 organizations around the country. DTTAC and Arogya World have a strong ongoing partnership, having worked closely on several health initiatives, including mDiabetes.
The Arogya World team received training on the National DPP curriculum and on group facilitation skills. The National DPP curriculum emphasizes improving food choices, increasing physical activity, and using group support to help participants lose a modest amount of weight (5% to 7% of their starting body weight), develop a healthier lifestyle and reduce their risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. According to Sarah Piper, DTTAC Senior Program Associate and Master Trainer, “Lifestyle Coaches’ ability to support participants, provide guidance, and facilitate group dynamics are key to the success of the lifestyle change program. Proper training ensures that the critical elements of this evidence-based program are delivered appropriately by Lifestyle Coaches.” The Arogya World team left Atlanta energized by the knowledge gained about the National DPP curriculum and inspired to deploy a lifestyle change program in India as effective as the program delivered in the US.
The National DPP curriculum was tested through the original Diabetes Prevention Program landmark research study and found to be effective at reducing the risk for Type 2 Diabetes across demographic groups in the United States. To build on this success, Arogya World is working with Dr Mohan’s Madras Diabetes Research Foundation to adapt the National DPP curriculum to be culturally relevant for participants in India. Arogya World plans to bring this customized diabetes prevention education to the communities where people work and socialize. The 16 week life style change workshop will be conducted in participating workplaces initially by Bala Aryan in Bangalore and by Dr. Geeta Bharadwaj in Mumbai. Going forward, employees from participating organizations will be trained as lifestyle coaches. According to Bala Aryan, training select employees from participating organizations will enable Arogya World to scale the program rapidly. As part of the ongoing partnership with Arogya World, DTTAC will develop a training evaluation and impact assessment process. In addition, Arogya World is working to develop a diabetes prevention program targeting Indian-Americans.
DTTAC shares Arogya World’s excitement about the implications of delivering a culturally relevant adaptation of the evidence-based National DPP Lifestyle Change program among Indians. Linelle Blais, DTTAC Director, states, DTTAC is “very pleased to partner with Arogya World on this important initiative, which has tremendous potential to reduce the burden of diabetes and improve lives. As the project grows and expands, we hope it will become a model for innovative implementation of the National DPP strategies globally. “