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Prev Chronic Dis. 2017 Feb 9;14:E15. doi: 10.5888/pcd14.160344.

Randomized Controlled Trial of a Community Health Worker Self-Management Support Intervention Among Low-Income Adults With Diabetes, Seattle, Washington, 2010-2014.

Author information

VA Health Services Research and Development, Seattle-Denver Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value-Driven Care, Seattle, Washington.
VA Puget Sound Health Care System, General Internal Medicine Service, Seattle, Washington.
University of Washington, School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington.
University of Washington, School of Public Health, Seattle, Washington.
Public Health - Seattle and King County, Seattle, Washington.



Community health workers (CHWs) can improve diabetes outcomes; however, questions remain about translating research findings into practical low-intensity models for safety-net providers. We tested the effectiveness of a home-based low-intensity CHW intervention for improving health outcomes among low-income adults with diabetes.


Low-income patients with glycated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) of 8.0% or higher in the 12 months before enrollment from 3 safety-net providers were randomized to a 12-month CHW-delivered diabetes self-management intervention or usual care. CHWs were based at a local health department. The primary outcome was change in HbA1c from baseline enrollment to 12 months; secondary outcomes included blood pressure and lipid levels, quality of life, and health care use.


The change in HbA1c in the intervention group (n = 145) (unadjusted mean of 9.09% to 8.58%, change of -0.51) compared with the control group (n = 142) (9.04% to 8.71%, change of -0.33) was not significant (P = .54). In an analysis of participants with poor glycemic control (HbA1c >10%), the intervention group had a 1.23-point greater decrease in HbA1c compared with controls (P = .046). For the entire study population, we found a decrease in reported physician visits (P < .001) and no improvement in health-related quality of life (P = .07) in the intervention group compared with the control group.


A low-intensity CHW-delivered intervention to support diabetes self-management did not significantly improve HbA1c relative to usual care. Among the subgroup of participants with poor glycemic control (HbA1c >10% at baseline), the intervention was effective.

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