Grant Application

Ingrid Libman, MD, PhD, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

Proposed Innovation

It’s hard enough being a teenager. Having a chronic, complex disease like type 1 diabetes makes adolescence even more challenging. Struggling with management and control increases the risk of hospitalization for serious complications, such as life-threatening diabetic ketoacidosis. It also raises the risk of long-term type 1 diabetes-related complications.

This project builds on an earlier pilot program at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh that used a peer support model to improve diabetes control and decrease hospital admissions among adolescents who are struggling. The goal is to expand the number of youth and families participating in the program.

Improvements in Action

Adolescents with type 1 diabetes and their families will work with a facilitator and a youth support partner — a young adult who has type 1 diabetes. They will work as a team to set goals, develop a family vision, and problem-solve situations that might affect their diabetes care.

This program is designed to help and support the whole family and, particularly, the adolescent. It empowers the adolescent to better manage their diabetes while connecting with someone from the same age group who has gone through this experience.

Intended Outcomes

Expanding this program will provide more at-risk teens with the knowledge and confidence they need to better manage their diabetes care, feel more confident, improve their control, and avoid hospitalizations. Parents will receive the support they need to better navigate health care and ensure their children stay healthy.