CDC scientists have identified a diabetes belt located mostly in the southern portion of the United States. This diabetes belt consists of 644 counties in 15 states. Sixty-eight (68) of Kentucky’s 120 counties are in this diabetes belt, which requires that ≥ 11% of adults aged ≥ 20 have been diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes.

Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs) are a major resource for health campaigns to prevent type diabetes, delay its onset, and to lessen its serious negative health outcomes. Unfortunately Kentucky has only 257 publicly listed CDEs and becoming a CDE is a long and arduous process. Further exacerbating this workforce problem is the mal-distribution of CDEs relative to the needs throughout Kentucky, with the majority of CDEs concentrated in urban areas and in the 52 Non-Diabetes Belt Counties.

Community Health Workers (CHWs) of the Kentucky Homeplace Program by contrast are located mostly in rural underserved counties that have some of the highest rates of type 2 diabetes.

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Poster presentation at the Kentucky Rural Health Association’s 14th Annual Conference, Bowling Green, KY.