Workplace Chronic Disease Self-Management (wCDSMP)

This program is an adaptation of the 6-week Chronic Disease Self-Management Program. It contains similar content, but is rearranged into 1-hour segments for the workplace. It is ONLY used in the workplace. It cannot be used in any other setting.


  • Small group workshop
  • 50-55 minutes per session
  • 2 sessions per week for 6 weeks


  • Workplaces only
  • 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


  • Are employees of the hosting workplace
  • People with different chronic health problems attend together
  • 12 - 14 participants per workshop



Please contact us for more information:


  • Two trained CDSMP Leaders, one or both of whom are non-health professionals with chronic diseases themselves
  • Must be cross-trained by certified Master Trainers, or must be Master Trainers themselves

Subjects Taught

(Note: Participants make weekly action plans, share experiences, and help each other solve problems they encounter in creating and carrying out their self-management program. Physicians and other health professionals both at Stanford and in the community have reviewed all materials in the workshop.)

  • Techniques to help balance work and home life
  • Techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation
  • Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance
  • Appropriate use of medications
  • Communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals
  • Nutrition
  • Decision-making
  • How to evaluate new treatments
  • and more

Frequently Asked Questions Below!

Does the Program replace existing programs and treatments?

The Self-Management Program will not conflict with existing programs or treatment. It is designed to enhance regular treatment and disease-specific education such as Better Breathers, cardiac rehabilitation, or diabetes instruction. In addition, many people have more than one chronic condition. The program is especially helpful for these people, as it gives them the skills to coordinate all the things needed to manage their health, as well as to help them keep active in their lives.

How was the Program developed?

For the original CDSMP, the Division of Family and Community Medicine in the School of Medicine at Stanford University received a five year research grant from the federal Agency for Health Care Research and Policy and the State of California Tobacco-Related Diseases office. The purpose of the research was to develop and evaluate, through a randomized controlled trial, a community-based self-management program that assists people with chronic illness. The study was completed in 1996.

The Workplace CDSMP was developed by Kate Lorig and Diana Laurent at Stanford University, and Matthew Smith at the University of Georgia.  Dr. Smith's team evaluated and conducted the pilot study.


How was the Program evaluated?

The wCDSMP was avaluated at several worksites in Texas and Georgia.  The study's findings will be published soon.  It is currently being tested and evaluated in several worksites across the United States for final adjustments.

For the original CDSMP, over 1,000 people with heart disease, lung disease, stroke or arthritis participated in an randomized, controlled test of the Program, and were followed for up to three years. We looked for changes in many areas: health status (disability, social/role limitations, pain and physical discomfort, energy/fatigue, shortness of breath, psychological well-being/distress, depression, health distress, self-rated general health), health care utilization (visits to physicians, visits to emergency department, hospital stays, and nights in hospital), self-efficacy (confidence to perform self-management behaviors, confidence to manage disease in general, confidence to achieve outcomes), and self-management behaviors (exercise, cognitive symptom management, mental stress management/relaxation, use of community resources, and communication with physician).**

What were the results?

Subjects who took the CDSMP, when compared to those who did not, demonstrated significant improvements in exercise, cognitive symptom management, communication with physicians, self-reported general health, health distress, fatigue, disability, and social/role activities limitations. They also spent fewer days in the hospital, and there was also a trend toward fewer outpatients visits and hospitalizations. These data yield a cost to savings ratio of approximately 1:4. Many of these results persist for as long as three years.*** Studies by others have reported similar results (see our bibliography).

The wCDSMP will have similar results.

How can my facility offer the Program?

The wCDSMP may only be offered in workplaces.  It is not to be offered in any other setting.  Current CDSMP Master Trainers and T-Trainers must attend an orientation webinar in order to obtain the materials and learn how to cross-trainer their Leaders. Visit Training to learn more.

How can I evaluate the Program?

There are a number of Evaluation Tools available for your use HERE.

***Original CDSMP outcome data reported in (more citations in bibliography):

Lorig KR, Sobel DS, Stewart AL, Brown Jr BW, Ritter PL, González VM, Laurent DD, Holman HR. Evidence suggesting that a chronic disease self-management program can improve health status while reducing utilization and costs: A randomized trial. Medical Care, 37(1):5-14, 1999.

Lorig KR, Ritter P, Stewart AL, Sobel DS, Brown BW, Bandura A, González VM, Laurent DD, Holman HR. Chronic Disease Self-Management Program: 2-Year Health Status and Health Care Utilization Outcomes. Medical Care, 39(11),1217-1223, 2001.

In HMO setting: Lorig KR, Sobel DS, Ritter PL, Laurent D, Hobbs M. Effect of a Self-Management Program on Patients with Chronic Disease. Effective Clinical Practice, 4(6),256-262, 2001.