The Absentee Shawnee Tribe Success Story: Diabetes Prevention Program

In September 2020, a subawardee of the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board, the Absentee Shawnee Tribe, began their second Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) cohort. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the program shifted to a virtual delivery format, meeting once per week for 17 weeks, missing only one week due to inclement weather and power outages. 

The Absentee Shawnee Tribe utilized the 2012 National Diabetes Prevention Program curriculum and the GoTo platform for the virtual delivery group meetings. Participants self-reported their weight each week and self-reported activity minutes beginning in week 6. 

Activities within the program included attendance contests, weight loss challenges, and activity minutes challenges. These occurred periodically during the year to foster motivation and encourage retention. The DPP program supplied Fitbits, smart scales for home weight measurements, exercise garments, pens for note taking, Calorie King books, resistance training bands for home use, and reusable insulated shopping bags which contained all of the participants toolkit items.

Testimonials from program participants include the following:

  • “My A1C was 6.2% when I started the program and yesterday my A1C was 5.8%! This program works!”
  • “I feel closer to my family after participating in this program.”
  • “I appreciated the coaches, the handouts and live video chats. Without this program, I don’t think I would have made it this far with my eating changes and my weight. Not only do I feel better physically but also mentally, and I cannot thank you enough for allowing me to be a part of this program.”

Results from the Absentee Shawnee Tribe’s second cohort included the following:

•     Average 5% weight loss
•     53% participants reached their goal weight
•     Best outcome was 18% body weight loss
•     Average physical activity post core 155 minutes
•     85% retention in the DPP
•     Internal repository of tools for sustainability.

The Grant Coordinator utilized the prediabetes registry, clinic provider referrals for nutrition consults related to prediabetes, social/traditional media, and word of mouth to recruit participants. The second cohort had 20 original members and as of September 30, 2021, the DPP Program included 27 participants registered for the third cohort. The Absentee Shawnee Tribe’s DPP now have 3 trained lifestyle coaches with the hopes of offering multiple cohorts per year in the future.