A Note on Our Methods in Creating This Anthology:
The creation of this document was, by choice and by necessity, highly collaborative. Because so few successes have been well-publicized, we quickly found that the best way to identify Bright Spots was through conversations with well-informed people from a variety of fields related to type 2 diabetes. To date, we have had interviews with approximately 100 educators, prevention specialists, clinicians, public health experts, non-profit innovators, behavioral interventionists, entrepreneurs, researchers, advocates, and policymakers. Each conversation yielded invaluable information, not only on what is working but also on the challenges that remain and the possibilities for future successes. Notably, we learned about many people who are hard at work tackling the many issues relevant to diabetes and its prevention and we admire how committed they are to it. We have brought together the central themes and lessons from these interviews, in a section which we have titled “Insights,” a separate section from our collection of Bright Spots. In addition, the following pages contain a list of all those to whom we spoke that chose to be recognized for their contribution. We are grateful to these many contributors who aided this project by sharing their ideas, experiences, and genius with us.
Our conversations were supplemented by independent research by members of The diaTribe Foundation. We acknowledge that, in relying on such research, we may be presenting a collection that is biased in favor of those initiatives that have had the time and resources to conduct studies, publish reports, and advertise successes. We have worked hard to balance our scrutiny of these efforts with the understanding that some of the most promising programs may not be the best advertised and may not even lend themselves to traditional research methods.
Our Criteria for Bright Spots:
Given the complexity of type 2 diabetes prevention, Bright Spots are not easily defined. In assessing programs for this collection, we considered five criteria:
- Outcomes: Has the program demonstrated meaningful outcomes? If so, what is the evidence?
- Scalability & Investability: Can the program, or at least elements of its model, be replicated in other communities? Can its model be applied in settings with limited resources or infrastructure? Is there potential for growth within its current community? Can it demonstrate meaningful returns on investment?
- Potential for Impact: Can it have a sizeable impact on single individuals or communities? Can the program affect large populations?
- Sustainability: Has the program demonstrated the ability to engage a relevant population or community? Does it demonstrate or suggest potential for engagement to be sustained long-term?
- Inspiration: Does the program use a unique or novel approach? Does it stand out for its innovative design? Does it have the potential to excite, generate ideas, and galvanize?
Certainly, even the most successful programs may not excel in all these areas. Some are too young to have demonstrated long-term outcomes or returns on investment; others are meaningful not for their innovation but for their implementation of tried-and-tested strategies. These criteria were instead used as guideposts to determine what constitutes a Bright Spot.
“Gold Standard” programs set the example for others of their type. They represent a complete, complex model from which others can, and in most cases have, drawn inspiration. These programs have the potential to be the standard against which other efforts are compared. Most have a demonstrated potential for impact, scale, and sustainability.
“Prime Performers” are well-established, noteworthy efforts in prevention. While they may not be the single example against which all others are measured, they are still highly regarded. Many have demonstrated outcomes, scalability, and sustainability. Many are separated from the “gold standards” only by virtue of having received less attention or funding. Many of these programs are powerful “proofs of concept,” demonstrations that prevention truly is possible.
“Innovators” are programs that stand out for their novel approaches. They are often the most entrepreneurial programs in the collection and, in many cases, have shown great potential to generate excitement. Many are still in their developmental stages, and thus outcomes or sustainability may not yet be demonstrated, but each was included based on one or more characteristics that more than deserve our attention.
These categories are not rankings, nor are our Bright Spots ranked in any way. There is, of course, a good deal of overlap among these categories. Many Innovators will become Gold Standard programs, many Prime Performers have highly innovative characteristics, and so on. The separate categories serve merely to structure the Anthology. Likewise, programs in this collection are arranged alphabetically; the order implies nothing further. This is by no means an exhaustive list of prevention efforts but reflects a collection of the best Bright Spots that exist in prevention to our knowledge. Our hope is that, as efforts and investment expand and evolve, so too will this Anthology.