Diabetes Self-Management (DSMP)

The teaching process makes this program effective. Classes are highly participatory. Mutual support and success builds participants’ confidence in their ability to manage their health and maintain active and fulfilling lives.


  • Small group workshop
  • 2 1/2 hours per session
  • 1 session per week for 6 weeks
  • It is the process in which the program is taught that makes it effective. Classes are highly participative, where mutual support and success build the participants’ confidence in their ability to manage their health and maintain active and fulfilling lives.


  • Community settings such as senior centers, churches, libraries and hospitals.
  • Special attention should be given to making the location accessible to all.
  • A room large enough for all participants to gather comfortably, plus space for 2 leaders and their materials.


  • People with type 2 diabetes
  • 12-16 participants per workshop

Participant Materials

Language Options


  • 2 trained leaders, one or both of whom are non-health professionals with diabetes themselves.
  • Must be trained by certified Master Trainers, or must be Master Trainers themselves.
  • For information about attending a Master Trainer training, please visit our Training section.

Subjects Taught

(Note: Physicians, diabetes educators, dietitians, and other health professionals both at Stanford and in the community have reviewed all materials in the workshop. Additionally, each year the content is reviewed and updated to meet current American Diabetes Associations standards.)

  • Techniques to deal with the symptoms of diabetes, fatigue, pain, hyper/hypoglycemia, stress, and emotional problems such as depression, anger, fear and frustration
  • Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength and endurance
  • Healthy eating
  • Appropriate use of medication
  • Working more effectively with health care providers
  • Participants will make weekly action plans, share experiences, and help each other solve problems they encounter in creating and carrying out their self-management program. 

Frequently Asked Questions (see below)

Does the Program replace existing programs and treatments?

The program does not conflict with existing programs or treatment. Treatment is not altered. For medical questions, participants are referred to their physicians or diabetes educators. If the content of the workshop conflicts with instructions they receive elsewhere, they are advised to follow their physicians' orders and discuss discrepancies with the physician.

How was the programs developed?

The original Diabetes Self-Management Program was developed in Spanish. After successful outcomes were found with that program, the Stanford Patient Education Research Center received a grant from the California HealthCare Foundation for the randomized, controlled study to test the workshop's effectiveness for English-speakers. The study was completed in 2008.

Six months after the workshop, participants had significant improvements in depression, symptoms of hypoglycemia, communication with physicians, healthy eating, and reading food labels. They also had significant improvements in patient activation and self-efficacy. At 12 months, DSMP participants continued to demonstrate improvements in depression, communication with physicians, healthy eating, patient activation, and self-efficacy. There were no significant changes in utilization or A1C (A1C values were already in the desirable range at the beginning of the study for most particpants).**

How can my facility offer the Program?

Trainings for representatives of health care organizations are 4½ days. We offer web-based cross-training for those who have already been trained to offer the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program. Please visit our Training page for more information.

*Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions by Lorig, Sobel, Laurent, González and Minor (2013), as well as the audio CD can be ordered from Bull Publishing.

**Results reported in: Lorig K, Ritter PL, Villa FJ, Armas J, Community-based peer-led diabetes self-management: a randomized trial. Diabetes Educator, 35(4):641-651, 2009.

Lorig K, Ritter PL, Villa FJ, Armas J. Community-based peer-led diabetes self-management: A randomized trial. The Diabetes Educator 2009 July-August;35(4):641-51. View abstract

Lorig K, Ritter PL, Turner RM, English K, Laurent DD, Greenberg J. A Diabetes Self-Management Program: 12-Month Outcome Sustainability From a Nonreinforced Pragmatic Trial. J Med Internet Res 2016 (Dec 15); 18(12):e322. View article 

Risendal BC, Dwyer A, Lorig K, Coombs L, Kellar-Guenther Y, Warren L, Franco A, Ory MG. Adaptation of the chronic disease self-management program for cancer survivors: feasibility, acceptability, and lessons for implementation. J Cancer Educ. 2014 Dec;29(4):762-71. doi:

Risendal BC, Dwyer A, Seidel RW, Lorig K, Coombs L, Ory MG. Meeting the challenge of cancer survivorship in public health: results from the evaluation of the chronic disease self-management program for cancer survivors. Psycho-Oncology. 2015 Apr 10 (ePub). doi: 10.1002/pon.3783.