HealthPOWER Prevention News Summer 2012 Success Story HPDP Bright Spot - National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
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HealthPOWER Prevention News Summer 2012 Success Story HPDP Bright Spot

VISN 15 Implements Chronic Disease Self-Management Program


Of all the great things going on in the VA Heartland Network, VISN PACT/HPDP Lead Janet Porter thinks that the implementation of the Stanford University Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP)* is one of the most exciting. "The CDSMP is an evidence-based training program that's proven to help patients better self-manage their chronic diseases," she says. "Last March, the Kansas City VAMC (KCVAMC) became the fifth network site to offer the program."

Developed in Stanford University's School of Medicine, the CDSMP is a patient-led education program for adults who are experiencing chronic health conditions such as hypertension, arthritis, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, and diabetes. It provides them with information and practical health self-management skills to help achieve and maintain active, fulfilling, healthier lives. The 6-week program typically consists of a highly participative, once weekly, 2.5-hour workshop that is led by two trained leaders who are often non-health professionals. These leaders train participants to:

  • Start/use physical activity appropriately to maintain flexibility, endurance, and strength
  • Begin/maintain good nutrition and use medications appropriately
  • Deal with the frustration, pain, isolation, and fatigue that may accompany chronic disease
  • Communicate well with health care team members, family, and friends
  • Evaluate new treatments
  • Improve quality of life

"The CDSMP gives patients, their families, friends, and caregivers the confidence, ability, and motivation needed to manage the challenges of living with a chronic health problem," explains Orvie Prewitt, the Kansas City Regional Arthritis Center's CDSMP Coordinator. "It's offered in community settings throughout the U.S., and is designed to co-exist with and enhance other treatment and health education programs." Prewitt, who herself is a CDSMP Leader, was instrumental in kick-starting the program at the KCVAMC by providing CDSMP Leader training for Primary Care staff in late 2011. Additional HPDP and VHEC staff members also have contributed to CDSMP efforts in the VISN.


Dr. Shannon Huebert, Janet Porter, Orvie Prewitt

(L to R) Dr. Shannon Huebert, Janet Porter, Orvie Prewitt


Brad Ellis, a Kansas City-area Veteran and CDSMP graduate, has since gone on to become a CDSMP Ambassador. "Brad had been struggling with chronic disease for several years prior to doing the CDSMP," says Dr. Shannon Huebert, who is KCVAMC's HBC and CDSMP point of contact. "It really worked for him—he was able to improve his health and sense of well-being, increase his ability to function, and reduce his medications from 13 to 4." His results were so impressive that he told his story to Primary Care staff during a kickoff event for the VAMC's CDSMP in February 2012. More recently, Brad has been working to reach out and promote the program to local members of the military, Veterans, and their families.

Huebert and Porter think that the CDSMP fits nicely within the framework of VA's Veteran-centered care model, by emphasizing health education and giving them the tools to help take control of their own health. "In April 2012, we held our first two CDSMP groups at the KCVAMC and 14 Veterans earned certificates of completion," says Huebert. "One Veteran reported a 13-pound weight loss over the 6-week course: he was so proud to walk—not ride his scooter—into the final group session!" Porter adds that "the CDSMP is an excellent complement to the efforts of PACT clinical staff, and we're looking forward to rolling it out in the remaining two VISN 15 facilities in the near future."

*Stanford University Patient Education Resource Center. Chronic Disease Self-Management Program. Available at". Accessed June 7, 2012.


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