Accelerating Best Practices in Peer Support Around the World

Peers for Progress Global Director Presents at the Annual Meeting of the American Diabetes Association


Edwin Fisher, PhD, professor of health behavior at Gillings School of Global Public Health and global director of Peers for Progress, participated in a symposium at the 73rd Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association in Chicago on June 23.

His talk, “A Brave New World: Self-management Support in the Community,” described the work of Peers for Progress, a program of the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation that promotes peer support in diabetes management and other areas of health, health care and prevention. Funded by the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, Peers for Progress has supported 14 evaluation and demonstration projects in nine countries on six continents. Results of the project show substantial and broad benefits of peer support in diabetes management.

Education and ongoing support are essential in helping people learn to manage diabetes, Fisher said – and receiving that support from peers is especially valuable.

“Peers have time to talk with people and help them figure out how to implement management plans in the realities of their daily lives,” Fisher said. “Peers often come from the same neighborhoods as those whom they help, so they are familiar with circumstances and resources. They can be trained to be good listeners so they can help people with diabetes relieve disease-related stresses – and they can be linked with clinical providers to help patients get the care they need.

The American Diabetes Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes and provides information and advocacy about the disease that affects 25.8 million children and adults in the U.S. – 8.3 percent of the country’s population.

More than 14,000 top scientists, physicians and other health care professionals from around the world gather at the ADA’s annual scientific sessions to share cutting-edge research, treatment recommendations and advances toward a cure for diabetes.

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Original announcement: Fisher’s talk at ADA meeting praises benefits of peer health counseling

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