The July 24 meeting of the GNYHA Wellness Workgroup focused on diabetes prevention interventions in the workplace setting. Diabetes is a common and costly condition—nationally, 9.4% of Americans have diabetes and over one-third have pre-diabetes. Proven lifestyle interventions, including the National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), can prevent individuals with pre-diabetes from becoming diabetic. Many GNYHA members offer DPP or DPP-like programs to patients either directly or through referrals to community partners, and some have begun programs targeting at-risk employees.

The discussion included an overview of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 6/18 Initiative, which targets six common health conditions (including diabetes) and highlights ways for purchasers, providers, and payers to support implementation of 18 proven, specific interventions. The group discussed the results of a 2018 systematic review article that examined 22 workplace-based diabetes prevention interventions, as well as a 2016 analysis of 25 digital solutions for diabetes prevention and management.

The meeting also included a presentation by Chris Pernell, MD, and Sonali Das, from the Labor Management Project of the 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds. Dr. Pernell and Ms. Das described the results of a two-year DPP conducted at Mount Sinai Beth Israel (MSBI). They also discussed the creation of a joint labor-management committee that led the project, recruitment and training of peer lifestyle coaches, recruitment of participants from MSBI’s workforce, and program and participant outcomes after the completion of six cohorts.

The 1199SEIU DPP at MSBI followed the CDC’s national curriculum, a yearlong program on behavior modification, stress management, and peer support. While there was some program attrition, 80 participants completed four or more DPP sessions. Among those 80, 75% lost weight and 25% met the CDC target of 5% weight loss or more. Percent weight loss was directly correlated to the number of sessions attended, with those attending more sessions losing more weight.

After completing the program, participants also reported higher physical activity levels and lower consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. While the 1199SEIU DPP at MSBI was very labor intensive, qualitative and quantitative data reveal the program’s lasting impacts on participants. The presenters suggested that the program’s success was largely due to the joint labor-management ownership of the project. The DPP has also catalyzed additional environmental and policy changes at MSBI, and led to the formation of a co-led labor and management wellness committee. The full evaluation report is available on the Labor Management Project’s website.

GNYHA’s Wellness Workgroup includes wellness professionals from hospitals and health systems in the New York region, explores best practices and emerging trends, and meets every other month.