There was a marked increase in the number of patients screened for diabetes and prediabetes when the Donoghue grant became operational. From 2006-2008 under the Connecticut Health Foundation’s initial grant, research was limited to hispanic women between the ages of 18-55 years old. Limited is not the best word, however. The number of Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) patients perfectly matched the structures and resources available to the Fair Haven Community Health Center at the time.
During this initial 2-year period, OGTT screening referrals amounted to approximately 2-4 per week. Clinicians generated them conservatively, being new to the group-screening paradigm. One Diabetes Prevention Program staff member handled the entire referral to recruitment process. She stocked exam rooms with referral forms, collected filled-out forms each Friday. She called each patient within 3 weeks to schedule them for a screening, and filed the referral forms in patients’ charts herself. Mari also kept impeccable excel spreadsheets on all relevant numbers and names.
In 2004, when the clinic won a substancial Donoghue Foundation grant, however, this system needed to be expanded. Now, any patient that displayed a risk factor was offered a free diabetes screening. Having observed the previous two years’ success, clinicians were poised and ready to ramp up their referrals. And they did! Referrals went from the aforementioned 2-4 per week to 20-25 per week. The Diabetes Prevention Program had to hire another staff member who shared the referral and recruitment responsibilities. Once in a while there were so many referrals that Eva had to set aside entire series of workdays just to make referral calls. To meet the demand, the Diabetes Prevention Program also increased their screenings from one per month to three. The success, therefore, of the initial two years of ‘limited’ access screenings established the program’s credibility and systematic foundation.
The Donoghue grant, however, made it possible for any patient at the Fair Haven Community Health Center, whether male female, child or adult, Balinese or African American, to get screened. Today, the DPP receives between 20-25 OGTT screening referrals per week, a major increase from the 2-4 one year ago.