Women of Skid Row

- Diabetes Learning Collaborative -

To support the work at a systems level, the coalition began a Diabetes Learning Collaborative for healthcare providers in the Skid Row Community providing diabetes treatment and educational programs. The collaborative was intended to share effective practices and increase networking opportunities for providers, thereby improving resource sharing and overall care coordination for patients. The members realized that in order to positively impact healthcare for women living with diabetes, access to healthy food had to be addressed, and women with lived experience needed to be collaborative members.

Partners with a focus on food equity and participants of the Women for Wellness program were quickly added to the collaborative and the group convened monthly to create innovative and community-led solutions focusing on increased opportunities and the elimination of health disparities for women experiencing homelessness.

Women's Walking Group Program

The first year of the collaborative culminated in an Action Lab, a model supported by SCALE and IHI to encourage a community-wide process focusing on health equity to improve health outcomes for women. The Action Lab structure is a model of community engagement completed within a compressed time frame and includes forming a leadership team, picking a topic area, conducting stakeholder analysis, and engaging community members.

After an assessment of community health access gaps, the coalition designed an eight-week walking group for women in the Skid Row Community. The DiaBEATit! Women’s Walking Group Program created a safe and supportive environment for women to establish nutrition and exercise goals, learn about diabetes, and foster social support.

An average of two coalition members were group facilitators each week, where members led walking group activities including food demonstrations, nutrition education, mindfulness exercises, community asset mapping, and a health resource fair.

The group was open for all women, although many were already participants in the Women for Wellness Program.

The walking group program exposed its participants to local community resources for healthy food including farmer’s markets and community gardens.

Results from the DiaBEATit! Women’s Walking Group were collected through the 10-item community walking group survey tool adapted from a Los Angeles County Department of Public Health community walking group survey tool. Seven questions assessed for demographic information, perceived safety, program satisfaction, and engagement methods.

I learned about community gardens how to create them from unused land. I didn't know the process before. I also learned the location of farmers market.
From now on, I will read labels and check calories.
I learned about healing hands. I will use breathing to deal with anxiety.
This group taught me that it's important to exercise more and eat less. I learned about healthy snacks, drinking water, and walking a lot.

- DiaBEATit! Women's Walking Group Program Participants

Three questions assessed for program-specific health knowledge and behaviors, feedback, and recommendations. During the 8-week walking group program, an average of 13.8 participants attended each group.

Overall, 119 women participated in the walking group. Similarly, an average of 8 participants completed the surveys after each group. The average age of participants was 50 years.

The survey noted that 47% reported that they felt safe enough in the community to exercise outside, 73% were very satisfied with the walking group program, 39% reported that they have never participated in a walking group before, and 91% said they would refer a friend into the group.

Working with the women in last summer's DiaBeatIt! Walking Group was a highlight of my week many times. Many participants looked forward to spending time with others and taking time for themselves that was beneficial for their health.
For an hour or two of the day, they made a conscious decision to do something good for themselves, their well-being. It made me feel great knowing they often made that decision with happiness and invested interest.

- Diabetes Learning Collaborative Members