Working in Partnership With Members of the London Black African and Caribbean Community: Methods to Engage the Community to Co-Develop a Diabetes Self-Management Intervention


This case study considers the development of Healthy Eating and Active Lifestyles for Diabetes (HEAL-D), a type 2 diabetes self-management course that is culturally tailored to meet the needs of Black African and Caribbean patients, to support them in their healthy lifestyle choices. This group is neglected in existing diabetes courses provided by U.K. health services, and they currently have poor health outcomes from diabetes. We used co-design and co-production methods to shape the intervention, involving Black African and Caribbean patients as active and equal creators of the course, along which community leaders and health care professionals. To recruit Black African and Caribbean participants, we went into mosques and churches and connected with community “gatekeepers,” such as faith leaders and health advocates. This meant we could access patients who would not be reached by conventional research recruitment methods and we could open up communication and foster their trust. We found this was important when taking Black African and Caribbean participants through signed informed consent, a process they mistrusted. To create conducive environments, in our workshops and in our co-production work, we took care to use caterers that our participants would choose for their own social events; this took thought and time to source. Our co-design and co-production work was successful in identifying key components for inclusion in HEAL-D that made it novel and innovative and, more importantly, well received and successful in a pilot study. The intervention had very good acceptability and significant effects on health outcomes.

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