The family education diabetes series: Improving health in an urban-dwelling American Indian community

Tai Justin Mendenhall, Kirsten Lind Seal, Betty Ann Greencrow, Kathleen Nannette Littlewalker, Steven Alfred Brownowl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Community-based participatory research has shown great promise as a mutually engaging and respectful way to partner contemporary biomedical knowledge with the lived experience, wisdom, and customs of American Indian people. Designed and implemented through this approach, our Family Education Diabetes Series (FEDS) has evidenced pilot and longitudinal physiological data supporting its effectiveness. However, the multifaceted nature of the program makes it difficult to know which factors are responsible for its success. This difficulty hinders efforts to improve the FEDS and/or inform others' work to advance similar projects. In this study, we conducted a qualitative investigation using talking circles to explore participants' views about what elements of the FEDS are most salient. Our findings suggest that social support and group-oriented sequences hold the most value. We conclude that an emphasis on these processes (instead of program content per se) is most indicated in effecting behavior change and facilitating ongoing disease management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1524-1534
Number of pages11
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012


  • Aboriginal people, North America
  • community-based programs
  • diabetes
  • health care disparities
  • illness and disease, chronic
  • obesity / overweight
  • participatory action research (PAR)
  • research, action
  • social support

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