Date of Award

Spring 5-3-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Frances McCarty, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Catherine S. Barnes, Ph.D.

Abstract

Diabetes mellitus is a significant problem in the United States with the burden being greater in the African American population. Because diabetes is complex and costly, the importance of self-care management changes the disease management paradigm from “provider-centered” to patient-centered”. Empowerment is a possible solution for barriers to better diabetes management. Patient empowerment is helping patients discover and develop the inherent capacity to be responsible for their own life. Although patient empowerment is a valuable philosophy, there are gaps between the philosophy and actual practice. There are limited studies addressing the effectiveness of patient empowerment at improving diabetes management. Therefore, this study examined the association of patient empowerment and diabetes management by gender, age, socioeconomic status and education level by using the data from the Patient Empowerment to Improve Diabetes Care intervention conducted in the Diabetes Clinic of the Grady Health System (GHS). In this study, diabetes management was measured by glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) level which shows the average blood glucose level over the past two to three months. Patient empowerment was measured by two standardized tools which were the Diabetes Empowerment Scale-Short Form and Patient Activation Measure. In this study, patient empowerment scores measured by these tools were not associated with HbA1c level in African American diabetes patients of the Diabetes Clinic of the GHS. Further study is necessary to understand the association between patient empowerment and diabetes disease management by using different measures of patient empowerment, different levels of disease management, and measurement in different settings.

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