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The Diabetes Mixer: Fostering a Diabetes Community to Support Peer Health

Michelle L. Litchman, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, MJ Tran, BSN

Abstract

Objective: Opportunities for individuals affected by type 1 diabetes (T1D) to engage in peer health activities are limited. The Diabetes Mixer is a community-based, non-clinical, face-to-face, peer health event for adults with T1D and their support person. The purpose of this paper is to 1) provide a program description of the Diabetes Mixer, and 2) analyze attendee perceptions of the Diabetes Mixer.

Research Design and Method: An analysis was conducted with Diabetes Mixer attendees to understand their perceptions of the event. Attendees included individuals with T1D and their support person. Surveys included quantitative and qualitative questions and were completed by attendees at the conclusion of the Diabetes Mixer. A descriptive analysis was conducted.

Results: Both individuals with T1D and support persons valued the Diabetes Mixer as a peer health event. All attendees stated they would attend a future Diabetes Mixer. Attendees planned to continue their relationship with the individuals they met at the Diabetes Mixer beyond the event, in-person, and through social media. Three themes were identified: building a community, connection through common experiences, and a fun venue to gain resources.

Conclusions: The Diabetes Mixer is a feasible, successful peer health event that provides education and support to individuals with T1D and their support person in a judgement-free atmosphere. Diabetes stakeholders should work together to develop peer-support resources for adults with T1D in non-clinical settings. Further research is needed to identify how interactions with peers can support diabetes management.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17125/plaid.2016.84

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