Living Well Alaska

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Submission Date: December 2013

Entry Type: Case Study

State/Territory Submitted on the Behalf of: Alaska

States/Territories Involved: Alaska

Domain Addressed:

Community-Clinical Linkages

Public Health Issue:

  • The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP), developed and tested by Stanford University, is an evidence-based 6-week, peer-led workshop program that effectively improves health outcomes and reduces disability in people with many chronic conditions, including diabetes.
  • In a state with significant barriers to healthcare access, delivering beneficial services to seniors, Alaska Natives, low-income, and rural populations with chronic conditions presents a major challenge.

Project Objectives:

1. To increase access to sustainable self-management education and support services for populations with significant diabetes burden and risk

2. To improve control of A1C, blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight, and to promote tobacco cessation and physical activity

Program Action:

  • The Alaska Diabetes Prevention and Control Program (DPCP) worked with multiple partner organizations to implement Living Well Alaska, a program modeled after the Stanford Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP).
  • The state acts as a direct partner to implementers, providing competitive implementation grants to partner organizations to assist with leader training and fidelity or quality assurance. The DPCP developed and maintains a statewide database to track workshops, participants, and leaders.
  • Through their partnership with a federally qualified health center (FQHC) the state conducted an outcome study of workshop participant clinical measures over a 12 month period.
  • Because distance delivery of CDSMP was not part of the Stanford-approved model, the DPCP implemented a pilot project to determine its feasibility at a remote site 750 air miles from Anchorage.

Data/Other Information Collected:

Since 2006, there have been 164 Living Well Alaska workshops, 28 of which were located in communities not connected to the Alaska road system with total populations of less than 2,000 people.  Workshops were offered at 55 locations, including community health centers, tribal health clinics, senior centers, veterans clinics, and faith community sites.

The Alaska Department of Health Living Well Alaska: Better Choices, Better Health web pages are located at:



  • As measures of CDSMP reach,  Alaska now has:- 360 course leaders, 4 master trainers, and 2 t-trainers- 1410 CDSMP participants with a 71% completion rate
  • Significant improvement in weight loss and A1C among the 100 FQHC participants in the treatment group vs. non-participants.
  • The CDSMP distance delivery project was rated a success as evidenced by an increase in the participant group’s confidence to live a healthy life from 7.8 prior to the workshop to 8.6 after the workshop.

Challenges/Lessons Learned:

  • A lack of mid-level umbrella organizations to recruit trainers or promote the program resulted in the AK DPCP acting as a direct partner to implementers.
  • Implementation in small rural communities was a challenge. Thirty people trained as workshop course leaders resulted in only 9 who fulfilled the expectation to teach at least 2 classes.
  • Working with leaders affiliated with a health agency or a church has been much easier than relying on volunteer leaders from the community.

Program Areas:

Healthy Communities (general)

State Contact Information:

Barbara Stillwater
Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health

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