Alliance to Reduce Disparities in Diabetes

Diabetes For Life (Memphis, TN)


Common Table Health Alliance (formerly Healthy Memphis Common Table) is a regional health improvement collaborative of community organizations, coalitions and individuals dedicated to improving the health of people in the greater Memphis area.


CTHA will address five issues related to health care disparities through its Diabetes for Life (DFL) initiative:

  • Implement a proven, evidence-based chronic disease selfmanagement program that can be offered to people with diabetes as part of a comprehensive approach to diabetes management and care
  • Increase access to and utilization of programs and resources to promote and maintain patient weight loss, including diet and nutritional counseling, peer support groups and access to various exercise options, based on patient preferences and needs
  • Offer case management support for people with diabetes and their families to help them gain access to and better utilize health resources as well as adopt and maintain effective disease self-management and lifestyle changes
  • Foster ongoing implementation of standard quality management and clinical improvement procedures to ensure that all patients at participating community health centers receive appropriate screening and treatments for diabetes and related chronic illnesses
  • Enhance provider cultural competency and communications training, as well as related patient feedback processes, to measure effectiveness and appropriateness of provider communication
  • Promote communication, collaboration and information exchange among all DFL stakeholders and extended community


  • With the help of the Memphis Healthy Churches (MHC), develop a peer education and peer support program/network. MHC includes 100 member churches and provides an important venue for peer facilitated support and addressing health care disparities at the community level.
  • Provide cultural awareness and communication training to providers to teach them how to communicate effectively with their patients.
  • Develop a Quality Improvement Collaborative with the provider sites in order to implement practice changes for improving diabetes care and reduce diabetes disparities.
  • Enhance data reporting across health plans in order to support chronic disease management in primary care.
  • Participants will have the support of case managers with respect to setting goals, and helping the participants meet their needs.


  • In three years, approximately 425 participants were enrolled in the Diabetes For Life (DFL) program and approximately 190 local physicians have at least one patient enrolled. DFL has spread into communities, churches, and households; and many DFL participants bring their spouses and friends to the educational classes with them.
  • The program has shifted its focus to recruit in 6 primary practice sites in order to provide more intensive support for diabetes selfmanagement using case managers and tailored interventions.
  • To date, 31% of enrolled patients have participated in the diabetes self-management program.
  • The Ethnographic Participant Case Study conducted by DFL suggests that the program is successful in connecting with participants and helps them gain knowledge they lack or do not understand completely in order to improve their outcomes.
  • The Quarterly Learning Collaborative meeting for the Patient Care and Quality Improvement Collaborative (PCQC) commenced with a Patient Centered Communication and Activation Training event in January 2012.

Affiliated Sites

Common Table Health Alliance

For more information on Common Table Health Alliance and Diabetes For Life, please contact Patria Johnson at