U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Partner Spotlight

Welcome to NDEP’s Partner Spotlight webpage! The page is being updated regularly to feature some of the great activities that our partners are doing to promote NDEP.

The Partner Spotlight features partners who have used creative methods to highlight and promote NDEP’s campaigns and resources.

We Want to Hear from You!

Have you been featured in a local or national media outlet? Do you have a promotion that you’d like to see featured on the Partner Spotlight webpage? First answer these questions:

  • Does your promotion highlight NDEP’s campaigns and resources?
  • Is your promotion innovative?
  • Has the promotion been recently implemented, and are you able to evaluate how it’s doing?
  • Are there lessons learned that can help other partners?

If you answered yes to all of these questions, your organization could be featured in the next Partner Spotlight! Complete the submission form (DOC, 453 KB) to let us know about your activities. Send any photos, media results, and contact information to Stephanie Corkett at scorkett@hagersharp.com

September 2016 Partner Spotlight: Fahina Tavake-Pasi

Inspiring Diabetes Self-Management Among Tongan-Americans in Salt Lake City, Utah

Robin Nwankwo, MPH, RD, CDE headshotFahina Tavake-Pasi is dedicated to decreasing health disparities among the Pacific Islander (PI) community. Since 2003, Ms. Tavake-Pasi has served as the executive director of the National Tongan American Society (NTAS), a Salt Lake City-based organization committed to strengthening the PI community through promoting health, education, cultural preservation, and civic engagement. 

About Fahina Tavake-Pasi:
  • Executive Director of National Tongan American Society
  • Serves on the Utah Department of Health Diabetes Committee, Board of Midvale Health Clinic, Community Advisory Committee for IHC Hospital, and Community Advisory Committee for Salt Lake Third District Court
  • Received the Governor’s Women’s Achievement of the Year Award

Salt Lake City, Utah is the home of nearly a quarter of the 60,000 Tongan-Americans that live in the United States. Diabetes is one of the top three leading causes of death among this community and obesity is increasing, specifically among children, adolescents, and women.

“One of the main challenges of addressing diabetes among Pacific Islanders is their lack of awareness,” Ms. Tavake-Pasi stated, highlighting a story about a Tongan-American woman who tested a blood sugar level of 400 mg/dl at one of NTAS’s health education classes. Other challenges to addressing diabetes include assisting people without health insurance get diabetes care, helping with meal planning, and providing encouragement and support for increasing levels of physical exercise.

The National Tongan-American Society uses resources from the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), such as 4 Steps to Manage Your Diabetes for Life, which is also available in Tongan and other languages, as part of their chronic disease self-management and support group meetings. NTAS also uses NDEP resources to support outreach activities at local health fairs, festivals and faith-based efforts.

According to Ms. Tavake-Pasi, the content in the NDEP’s 4 Steps booklet provides key steps to help people with diabetes understand, monitor, and manage their disease. Ms. Tavake-Pasi shared a story about one Tongan-American woman who, following two previous hospitalizations, was successful in improving her understanding of diabetes self-management skills through education and support, using helpful resources including 4 Steps.

Attendees at the National Tongan-American Society’s Monthly Diabetes Support Group Meeting
Attendees at the National Tongan-American Society’s Monthly Diabetes Support Group Meeting


“There are a lot of steps that people with diabetes have to take to manage their disease, and it can be overwhelming for the person living with the disease,” stated Ms. Tavake-Pasi. “4 Steps has been a helpful tool to support people in their understanding of important diabetes self-management behaviors.”

With the help of NDEP, Fahina Tavake-Pasi hopes to continue educating the Tongan-American community about diabetes so that they can lead happier, healthier lives.

August 2016 Partner Spotlight: Robin Nwankwo

Diabetes Educator Aims to Empower Patients to Prevent and Manage Diabetes

Robin Nwankwo, MPH, RD, CDE headshotAs a clinical research coordinator, registered dietitian, and certified diabetes educator at the University of Michigan Medical School, Robin Nwankwo has contributed significantly to the field of diabetes for over 21 years. Recently as the Co-chair of the National Diabetes Education Program’s (NDEP) Diabetes HealthSense Task Group, she worked to maintain and curate resources to promote behavior change and to address the psychosocial and lifestyle-change challenges associated with diabetes prevention and management.

About Robin Nwankwo, MPH, RD, CDE:
  • Co-chair of NDEP’s Diabetes HealthSense Task Group
  • Clinical Research Coordinator in the Department of Learning Health Sciences at the University of Michigan Medical School
  • Registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, with a focus on patient empowerment-based education
  • Received the American Diabetes Association’s Outstanding Educator in Diabetes Award in 2012

Through both professional and personal experiences, Ms. Nwankwo has made helping people with diabetes part of her life mission. “I want to end the devastating and completely preventable loss of life and limb imposed by diabetes,” said Ms. Nwankwo. Rather than lecturing to her patients, Ms. Nwankwo assists them by using a patient empowerment-based education approach to create a respectful environment that encourages self-reflection and builds self-confidence in diabetes prevention and management.

For many people, the emotional impact of a diagnosis can impede adoption of necessary self-care behavioral changes. “As long as there is an inner conflict,” says Ms. Nwankwo, “it is hard to adopt behavior change. Studies show poor diabetes self-management resulting from diabetes related distress is associated with increased risk of complications. It’s a vicious cycle.”

The NDEP’s Diabetes HealthSense resource provides health care professionals and their patients with easy access to resources for making lifestyle changes and coping with stress and negative emotions. According to Ms. Nwankwo, “Patients have said that the Diabetes HealthSense resource is eye-opening for them and makes the burden more manageable, knowing what they can do once they are diagnosed.”

By contributing to Diabetes HealthSense, Ms. Nwankwo hopes to continue her mission to address both the emotional side of living with diabetes and the self-management behaviors necessary to manage this disease.

July 2016 Partner Spotlight: Dr. Doron Schneider


Practice Transformation Resource Provides Health Care Teams with Tools to Improve Diabetes Care

Dr. Doron Schneider

For Dr. Doron Schneider, Internist and Chief Patient Safety and Quality Officer at Abington Health in Abington, PA, quality diabetes care is all about the journey. In his role as Chair of the National Diabetes Education Program’s (NDEP) Practice Transformation Task Group, Dr. Schneider worked to make Practice Transformation for Physicians and Health Care Teams a resource that can support the needs of health care practices of all sizes, and at various stages in their journey to redesign how diabetes care is coordinated and delivered. According to Dr. Schneider, “This journey requires a ‘transformation’ in practice.”

About Doron Schneider, MD, FACP:
  • Chair of NDEP’s Practice Transformation Task Group
  • Assistant Professor at Drexel University
  • Deputy Program Director, Internal Medicine Residency at Abington Memorial Hospital
  • Has served on the ACP Diabetes Initiative Advisory board and is  Lead National Faculty for the ACP Quality Connect Programs
  • Deputy Editor, Clinical Diabetes

To enhance the quality of care, Dr. Schneider believes diabetes care should transform from acute, physician-based care to patient-centered, team-based care that best promotes quality outcomes. “In a nutshell,” says Dr. Schneider, “practice transformation means moving to a team-based care model with the focus on everyone being aligned and thinking about the patient on their journey through life and how we can serve as a home for them in their lives."

One of the greatest strengths of the Practice Transformation site is its value and accessibility to all members of the health care team. Recognizing that every practice is unique, Dr. Schneider explains that many types of professionals in the health care setting can use Practice Transformation, from those just starting their journey in transformation, to those that are farther along and are searching for specific answers to their barriers. The site provides not only a theoretical view of change – but real solid tactics and approaches that have worked.

Dr. Schneider offers this advice to practices working to redesign how diabetes care is coordinated and delivered:  “Employ a team-based approach and share a clear vision. All of the staff who are on that journey, not just the leader, can use the Practice Transformation site and accelerate their understanding of where they should be heading and their role in moving things forward.” He adds that “the goal of this site is really to optimize practices to provide the best possible diabetes care.” Dr. Schneider believes that practice transformation should result in four outcomes: 1) improved quality of care, 2) improved value of care, 3) improved patient experience, and 4) improved health care team experience.

“At this moment, we may not able to conquer diabetes,” he says, “but we can create a good battle plan if we follow some ​of the tenets that we have outlined in this resource.”

March 2016 Partner Spotlight

Doctor of Pharmacy’s Mission to Inspire Behavior Change

Dr. Danielle GilliamDr. Danielle M. Gilliam is committed to keeping her community healthy. A doctor of pharmacy by training, Dr. Gilliam is also a certified diabetes educator. She incorporates her diabetes knowledge in her role as a health ministry leader at her church, Canaan Missionary Baptist Church in Mesa, Arizona.

About Danielle M. Gilliam, PharmD, CDE:
  • Member of NDEP's Diabetes HealthSeanse Task Group
  • Has 17+ years of experience in the field of diabetes, including clinical, research, and industry experience
  • Obesity Medical Liaison with Novo Nordisk
  • President of the Community Leadership Board, Board Chair of the Diversity Committee, and member of the National Adult Strategies Committee for the American Diabetes Association
  • Health Committee Chair, East Vally Arizona NAACP

Because many members of Canaan Missionary Baptist Church—including the pastor—have type 2 diabetes, Dr. Gilliam lead “Diabetes Saturdays,” diabetes-specific education classes on the first Saturday of each month. Dr. Gilliam worked with fellow church members to help them learn how to eat healthy, be more active, cope with stress and emotions, and set goals to improve their health. Dr. Gilliam seeks to inspire positive health behavior change among her church community because she knows that managing and preventing type 2 diabetes is possible.

In her “Diabetes Saturdays” classes, Dr. Gilliam featured resources from the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), such as Small Steps. Big Rewards. Your GAME PLAN to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes: Information for Patients for people who are at high risk for type 2 diabetes and Diabetes HealthSense, a resource to provide information and support to help people understand how to make changes in their lifestyle to improve their health.

“The most effective way to manage or prevent type 2 diabetes is by tackling behavior change,” says Gilliam. “Many people know what they need to do to improve their health; but some people don’t understand how hard it is. It’s common for people to feel overwhelmed, when they are figuring out how to make these changes.”

By incorporating diabetes health classes in her classes, Dr. Gilliam hopes to instill the knowledge and support for healthy behavior changes within her church community.

For more patient education resources, visit the NDEP website

February 2016 Partner Spotlight

Florida Health Department Includes the Whole Community in Diabetes EducationFlorida Health Department Martin County Logo

The Florida Department of Health In Martin County (FL-DOH Martin) took NDEP’s 2015 National Diabetes Month theme “Diabetes Education and Support: Everyone Has a Role. What’s Yours?” to heart in November.

According to FL-DOH public information officer Renay Rouse, “Our health department believes that all of our staff has a role to play in getting the word out about diabetes education and support. Our mission is to promote, protect, and improve health in our community.”

FL-DOH Martin school health nurses, nurse program specialists and nutritionists help train and support students and families who are affected by diabetes. National Diabetes Month provided an additional opportunity to highlight the importance of education and outreach. NDEP’s Helping the Student with Diabetes Succeed: A Guide for School Personnel resource is one of those materials used to educate nurses and school personnel in Martin County. The health department also trains nurses and health assistants to conduct health screenings and body mass index (BMI) checks.

Children are shown how much sugar is in their drinks

    Children are shown how much sugar
is in their drinks

“We know it can be a challenge to change eating habits. We want our residents to know that we are there with them, and will help them fight this battle against diabetes,” says Peña. “We know it’s a huge life change that can seem impossible at times.”To help get important diabetes information into the community, Marybeth Peña, a certified diabetes educator and nurse program specialist for the Florida Department of Health, met residents in community centers, churches, and public libraries to provide information to help foster healthy relationships with food to help people maintain healthy lifestyles to manage and prevent diabetes-related health problems.


Other activities to support National Diabetes Month, included posting the NDEP’s Diabetes Risk Test PDF icon (325 KB) to the FL-DOH Martin website and issuing a news release announcing the NDEP’s National Diabetes Month campaign to its community partners and local media. The Stuart Fire and Rescue Squad saw the announcement and volunteered to distribute NDEP’s Small Steps. Big Rewards. Your GAME PLAN to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes: Information for Patients booklet to residents they assisted in the community.

January 2016 Partner Spotlight

Turning Theory into Practice: Public Health Researcher Dedicates Work to Empowering Patients to Take Their Medicine

Picture of Debbie Zlomek “Why can’t I get my patients to do what I want them to do?” As a public health researcher, Dr. John G. Ryan has continuously heard health care providers’ common cry for help on how to get their patients to follow their treatment plans. This one statement from a physician set Dr. Ryan on the path of his entire career of studying and introducing medication adherence interventions for patients with diabetes.

While cost plays a significant role in preventing patients from taking their medications as prescribed, other key barriers to medication adherence include patients’ health beliefs, health literacy, and the complexity of their prescribed regimen. Because medication adherence is multi-factorial, Dr. Ryan believes there’s no magic bullet to address it. However, he says, “An important part of the answer is counseling and educating patients. Training physicians, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, clinical psychologists, and the patient’s entire health care team to encourage, motivate, reprogram, and manage patients’ cultural expectations can help further achieve the goal of increasing medication-taking behaviors.”

About John G. Ryan, Dr.P.H.:
  • Professor of Family Medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
  • Topic Editor, Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Other Endocrine Disorders, Clinical Therapeutics
  • Author of over 50 journal articles, books, and monographs on family medicine and community health
  • Member of NDEP’s Medication Adherence Task Group

Dr. Ryan and his team comprised of talented, allied health care providers are committed to helping patients by teaching and motivating them to change their behaviors, including by increasing their medication-taking behaviors. In an effort to train and support health care professionals in promoting medication adherence among their patients and within their teams, Dr. Ryan joined NDEP’s Medication Adherence Task Group to create the program’s Promoting Medication in Adherence in Diabetes web resource which contains a series of tools that health care professionals in various roles can use to help their patients take their medications as prescribed.

To provide the best diabetes care, Dr. Ryan says it takes a team. “NDEP’s Promoting Medication in Adherence in Diabetes web resource offers health care teams a collection of resources addressing a wide variety of medication adherence topics. If every member of a patient’s health care team is reading from the same script, they will enhance a diabetes patient’s understanding about his treatment plan and the importance of his medications. As a result, the patient will adhere to his medication as prescribed.”

For more information about medication adherence, a recording of NDEP’s Empowering Patients to Take Their Medicine: What Can We Do? webinar, which Dr. John G. Ryan co-presented, is available on NDEP’s website.


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