Diabetes Mentoring Program Proposed

Have you ever wished you had a “diabetes mentor”—someone who had experience living with diabetes and could help guide you through the learning process? Or perhaps you wish that you could put your accumulated expertise with diabetes to work helping someone who is recently diagnosed or has questions. If so, you may be interested in a soon-to-be-launched diabetes mentoring program called “Peers for Progress.”


The program is being created by the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation with a $15-million, 5-year grant from the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation. It will identify and train volunteers who have diabetes—laypersons, not health-care professionals—to be certified “Diabetes Mentors,” who will then help other people with diabetes manage their daily self-care tasks as well as deal with the emotional and social demands of living with diabetes.

The program’s goal is to train 200,000 people, or 1% of Americans living with diabetes, to become Diabetes Mentors, and eventually to expand globally and train 2 million mentors worldwide by 2020. In addition to bridging the gap between the health-care system and people with diabetes, Diabetes Mentors will ultimately train some of their “mentees” to become mentors as well.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, the Peers for Progress program will seek to employ a new, empowering, community-based approach to combating diabetes. Through role-modeling, mentoring, and peer-to-peer interactions, mentors will aim to bring about behavioral changes in people with diabetes that lead to better long-term health outcomes.

More information about how to get involved in the Peers for Progress program will be available later this year; the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation is planning to launch a Web site for the program by late fall, and a small pilot mentoring project will kick off in 2008. The foundation hopes to have the full project underway by late 2008 or early 2009. The Diabetes Self-Management Blog will feature more information about how you can get involved with the program when it becomes available.

In the meantime, you may want to check out diabetes blogger David Mendosa’s blog entry “M is for Mentoring” which contains tips and advice about diabetes mentoring and explains how you can become a “virtual mentor” or “virtual mentee” on the Internet.

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  • Priscilla

    What a great idea!!

  • VSimms

    This is very needed.

  • Parmasan

    I would be very interested in becoming a mentor! I hope to see more info soon
    Ed Parma

  • PACO

    I was saddened to see that mentors must be diabetic themselves. After helping a family member for years and seeing many elderly being unable to figure out the prescribed regime, I think I could be helpful to others if I could find a proper outlet.

  • Kevin Helm

    While this blog entry is a few years old, I’d like to update the information regarding Peers for Progress. The program is up and running, but the focus has slightly changed. We’ve identified many fully-developed peer support programs around the world who are already very active in training and developing peers mentors. The area of focus for Peers for Progress is on developing and enhancing the research which proves peer support works. Our mission is to accelerate best practices in peer support for health around the world. At this time, most of the resources on our web site are devoted to this purpose, but if you are interested in becoming a peer mentor, please send us an email and we’ll be happy to connect you with one of our partners who train peer mentors.

    Best Regards,
    Kevin Helm
    Assistant Director, Peers for Progress

  • bob oswald

    lookink for a diebitic mentor

  • Virginia Hosang

    Looking for peer mentorship programs in Jacksonville fl

  • juanita arnell

    omg!!!!as I was reading this I didn’t realize how old the blog was but gosh!iv just been diagnosed with ckd and have had a diagnosis of diabetes for about two mnths now,i know nothing about helping myself,i have so many other painful health problems that’s just kept me frm having the access of learning about all this,plus tryin to get all the info on wht I already had,was a wks long job every wk.but oh gosh! a mentor that wod help us lil pple as I eel bc I no nothing&could learn so much&needed,lord,are the bigger diabetics that have already been thru&stil learning cn show&teach us soo much. please connect me with info I ask to some help. thanks jmarnell