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Integrating Other Practitioners

Other practitioners, such as pharmacists, podiatrists, optometrists, dentists, mental health practitioners, and counselors, can have a significant impact on diabetes management and should be considered as important partners to the primary care team.1 For example, pharmacists can assist primary care providers in the monitoring, management, and education of a patient’s medication plans and have been effectively integrated directly into primary care.2 Similarly, dentists can screen for and educate patients about the importance of proper oral health in managing the complexities of diabetes-related complications. Developing strategies for facilitating coordination of care with non-traditional practitioners and partners can help ensure a comprehensive approach to supporting patients in their diabetes management. Patient navigators, care managers, and care coordinators may serve as useful resources for linking patients to appropriate health care providers. The way your practice coordinates services with other practitioners will depend on the availability of local resources.

You Can Do It

Providers of pharmacy, podiatry, optometry, and dentistry (PPOD) are well positioned to advise and educate patients about diabetes control and prevention. This toolkit for PPOD practitioners shows providers how they can work collaboratively with each other as well as with all other members of the health care team, such as primary health care providers, physician assistants, nurse educators, and community health workers, to promote better outcomes in people with diabetes.

NDEP’s Redesigning the Health Care Team: Diabetes Prevention and Lifelong Management (PDF, 749 KB) resource helps health care professionals and organizations implement collaborative, multidisciplinary team care for adults and children with diabetes in a variety of settings. It includes a variety of case study examples of how practices have implemented these approaches to better serve their patients.

In addition to health care providers, the resources and support of community partners, such as community health workers, trained peer leaders, and school nurses, can also augment clinical care teams.3 In particular, peer leaders and community health workers have been successfully trained to facilitate sustained diabetes self-management with support needed over the long term.4,5 The role of these partners appears be particularly effective in underserved areas and with ethnically diverse populations.6

Tools You Can Use

Learn more about strategies for engaging with community health workers:
Watch this NDEP webinar: Community Health Workers: Their Role in Preventing and Controlling Chronic Conditions.

NDEP’s Road to Health Toolkit (PDF, 283 MB) can help increase knowledge and skills regarding type 2 diabetes prevention among community health workers in Hispanic/Latino and African American/African Ancestry communities.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Community Health Worker (CHW) Toolkit


1. Takhar A, Herbert J, Plum R, et al. SWEETWISE: Developing a multi-professional approach to diabetes mellitus. Prim Health Care Res Dev. 2015;17(2):107-13.
2. Simpson SH, Lier DA, Majumdar SR, et al. Cost-effectiveness analysis of adding pharmacists to primary care teams to reduce cardiovascular risk in patients with Type 2 diabetes: Results from a randomized controlled trial. Diabet Med. 2015;32(7):899-906.
3. Haas L, Maryniuk M, Beck J, et al. National standards for diabetes self-management education and support. Diabetes Care. 2014;37 Suppl 1:S144-53.
4. Siminerio L, Ruppert KM, Gabbay RA. Who can provide diabetes self-management support in primary care? Findings from a randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Educ. 2013;39(5):705-13.
5. Tang TS, Funnell M, Sinco B, et al. Comparative effectiveness of peer leaders and community health workers in diabetes self-management support: results of a randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Care. 2014;37(6):1525-34.
6. Philis-Tsimikas A, Walker C, Rivard L, et al. Improvement in diabetes care of underinsured patients enrolled in Project Dulce: A community-based, culturally appropriate, nurse case management and peer education diabetes care model. Diabetes Care. 2004;27(1):110-5.

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