Diabetes Interdisciplinary Studies Program — Awards Archive
2012 - One Award
"Oral Health Buddy: A behavioral intervention targeting racial disparities in diabetes and periodontal disease using text-messaging and caregiving"
Harold Neighbors, Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health and Research Professor of Hlth Behavior and Hlth Education, Research Center for Group Dynamics, Institute for Social Research
Gretchen Piatt, Assistant Professor of Medical Education, Medical School and Assistant Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health
The Oral Health Buddy (OH-Buddy) feasibility study seeks to determine whether the use of text messages in conjunction with an informal caregiver can improve glycemic control and periodontal health status. Seventy-two dentate patients age 18 years and older diagnosed with periodontal disease and diabetes will be recruited from multiple dental services within Washtenaw County (Ann Arbor) and followed for 6 months in this one-arm within-subjects design. The OH-Buddy intervention will begin in the fourth month, after a 3-month recruitment and enrollment period. All participants will receive both an oral examination and have their HbA1c measured at three points in time over the six months. The OH-Buddy intervention uses text messaging to encourage behaviors known to promote the successful management of diabetes and periodontitis. It employs informal caregiver support (the "oral health buddy") to assist the patient. University of Michigan dental hygiene students will promote strategies to help the buddy support the patient. The intervention's lack of dependence on doctorate-level professional health care staff makes OH-Buddy potentially inexpensive and easier to implement across a range of health care settings. Mobile phones are an ideal platform for supporting chronic disease management because they are ubiquitous, low-cost, reliable, and versatile; disease management support can be provided in real-time; and they are used comparably across all racial groups. Mobile phones can help individuals remember to do various health-related activities and record those activities, which helps others in their social network to review ongoing health behavior patterns and respond quickly to changes in health status.