Catalyst Awardee

Project Description

Lifestyle Empowerment Approach for Diabetes Remission (LEADR): A systems-change intervention to achieve diabetes remission for patients and sustainable reimbursement for physicians

Micaela Karlsen, PhD, MSPH | American College of Lifestyle Medicine; Scott Moore, DO; Kara Staffier, MPH; Kathy Pollard, MS
Competition Sponsor: U.S. National Academy of Medicine
Awardee Year: 2022


The Lifestyle Empowerment Approach for Diabetes Remission (LEADR) project proposes an intensive therapeutic lifestyle intervention to support patients living with type 2 diabetes (T2D). The foundational component is the use of a low-fat, whole food, plant-based diet—a dietary lifestyle which is adaptable across preferences and cultures and which has been demonstrated to produce T2D remission.
Supported by community partnerships in planning and design, a high-quality, randomized controlled trial to document the health benefits of a lifestyle patient intervention will be conducted, reaching 84 families in a community in Utah. Serving sustainability and replicability, the intervention will utilize an open-access detailed program curriculum with facilitator scripts, a participant workbook, and planning guides, each designed to reach majority Hispanic/Latino populations in disinvested communities. The suite of materials will educate and guide health care workers as they address diet, exercise, and stress to target remission (normalized blood glucose without medication) in a meaningful evidence-based departure from the typical disease management approach taken toward patients with T2D. The intervention will then be deployed in a historically Black faith-based community, with pilot data gathered for replication nationwide. The project will develop and assess a reimbursement pathway utilizing shared medical appointments as part of a systems-change approach to T2D care. Achievement of expected results will provide proof of concept for a lifestyle intervention relevant and adaptable across Hispanic, Black, Indigenous, rural, and other communities that have historically been furthest from resources, including convenient access to affordable, culturally relevant, nutritious food, that performs better than the standard of care.

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