By Karl Ronn, First Mile Care CEO and Founder

I am delighted to share the news that the Centers for Disease Control has awarded First Mile Care the coveted Certificate of CDC Full Recognition for our Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). This “full” designation is given only to programs that have successfully delivered “a quality, evidence-based program that meets all of the standards” of the National Diabetes Prevention Program to delay type 2 diabetes. CDC-recognized organizations are able to enroll as Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP) suppliers.

The DPP is a year-long, science-based behavior modification program clinically proven to stop the onset of type 2 diabetes by 58%, and 71% in those over age 60. The DPP includes weekly sessions, lifestyle coaching, peer support, and behavior tracking tools. 

To achieve CDC Full Recognition, the First Mile Care team had to meet stringent requirements in a number of categories:

  • Lifestyle curriculum content
  • Staffing and training
  • Intervention duration and intensity (frequency of sessions over one year)
  • Minimum percentages for session attendance over the year
  • Documentation of body weight 
  • Documentation of physical activity minutes
  • Average weight loss across all participants in the year-long cohort of a minimum of 5% of starting body weight

We are very proud that despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, First Mile Care participants have attained an average weight loss of 6.5% of starting body weight, well above the CDC minimum! While some participants have lost as much as 30 pounds over a year, the program emphasis is on overall health improvements and not weight loss alone.

The value of the neighborhood

First Mile Care takes the burden off physicians and health care systems by functioning as an extension of their practice. We partner with them to recruit and organize patients by practice ZIP codes to develop critical mass for establishing local DPP classes. We also recruit and certify local coaches in DPP and report back to physicians on patient progress. 

A First Mile Care distinction is our community focus and emphasis on a shared neighborhood experience among DPP group participants.  We help our coaches tailor sessions to reflect local activities, amenities, culture, foods, languages, and lifestyles. The neighborhood aspect also fosters retention by encouraging supportive relationships, peer accountability, and information-sharing of local insights. Participants overcome obstacles and celebrate successes together. Our goal is to counsel participants both one-on-one and in group settings within 10 minutes of their homes and at convenient times, to facilitate participation regardless of busy schedules or transportation challenges. 

“I feel it is important for me to participate in a neighborhood group,” said Jeannie Lawson, a DPP participant in The Woodlands, Texas, a Houston suburb. “The more similar I am with the group, the more comfortable I feel. Knowing my classmates are from the same geographic area helps. Because of their support, I feel safe enough to share my successes as well as my failures.” 

Our groups have been able to retain their neighborhood focus throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. “Because my coach is part of the local community, she can give us tips and tools that are realistic about nearby walking trails, healthy restaurants, specialty food markets, and fresh vegetable markets,” said Tomas Zapata, another DPP participant in The Woodlands.

As Miram T. Bell, the team lead for the National Diabetes Prevention Program, wrote, “The sustained success of your lifestyle change program makes an invaluable contribution to the prevention of type 2 diabetes, both in your community and nationally.”

Could you be at risk for prediabetes?  Take the test and find more information on our Resources site.