Marcia G. Ory, Ph.D., M.P.H., Regents and Distinguished Professor in the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) School of Rural Public Health, was lead author for an editorial on chronic-disease self-management for aging adults.
“Self-Management at the Tipping Point: Reaching 100,000 Americans with Evidence-Based Programs,” was published in the May issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. This editorial highlights the impact of evidence-based chronic disease self-management programs, focusing on their potential for reducing symptoms and improving function, as well as the recent effort to transition these types of programs from the research stage to practice on a national scale.
“There is an emerging concern about pervasive research-to-practice gaps in which programs developed in research settings fail to be translated in widespread practice in the ‘aging services network,’” Dr. Ory said. “The various state and federal agencies on aging and public health recognize the importance of closing the gap and transitioning these programs to a national platform.”
In particular, the Stanford University Chronic Disease Self-Management Program has shown great success in test trials at improving participants’ ability to manage symptoms and cope with their disease on a daily basis. Study participants used various strategies such as behavior modeling, action planning and feedback, which enabled them to better communicate with their health providers while lowering the number of costly emergency room visits.
“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, led by the U.S. Administration on Aging in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, allotted $32.5 million to support the translation of the Stanford program in 45 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia,” states the study.
This national initiative demonstrated these programs can be successful at reaching a wide cross-section of older adults with chronic conditions when delivered through various dissemination channels. While target goals were reached ahead of schedule, the sustained dissemination of these types of evidence-based programs hinges on aging, public health and medical care sectors working together. This will ensure individuals are properly managing their disease and aware of the various community and clinical care options available to them.
The editorial reflects collaborative efforts among the TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health, Stanford University Patient Education Research Center and the National Council on Aging. Additional authors include Matthew Lee Smith, Ph.D., Kristie Patton, M.S.W., Kate Lorig, Dr.P.H., Wendy Zenker, B.A., and Nancy Whitelaw, Ph.D.