Center for Excellence in Health Innovation Receives Funding to Evaluate Maine Chronic Disease Self-Management Education


Ruth Dufresne, S.M., Research Associate and Adjunct Faculty in the Center for Excellence in Health Innovation, received a new grant from the US Administration for Community Living and the Administration on Aging to evaluate Maine’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Education (CDSME) Program. The grant, implemented by Spectrum Generations along with four other Maine Area Agencies on Aging organizations, delivers evidence-based self-management education programs in the community that empower older adults and adults with disabilities from underserved areas and populations to better manage their conditions.

Spectrum Generations, one of the five Maine Area Agencies on Aging (M4A), serves seven counties in the central and mid-coast Maine area. Their mission is to promote life-long learning, health, wellness, nutrition, community engagement and the social well-being of all older and disabled adults. With seven locations, Spectrum Generations provides services for older and disabled adults spanning from nutrition education, adult day care, legal services, to community case management. The other four area agencies on aging, Aroostook Agency on Aging, Eastern Area Agency on Aging, SeniorsPlus, and Southern Maine Agency on Aging, will be providing support in implementing the CDSME program in their affiliated areas.

The Administration on Aging reports that nearly 60% of CDSME participants have more than one chronic condition. The most common conditions are: hypertension (41%), arthritis (37%), and diabetes (32%). The average age of a CDSME participant is 65.6 years, and 46% of participants report having a disability. “This grant provides Maine’s Area Agencies on Aging with an opportunity to strengthen its CDSME infrastructure through collaboration with sustainability partners such as health systems, insurers, and employers,” states Dufresne, “This expansion will contribute to an increase in the number of older adults and adults with disabilities that have access to CDSME, ultimately allowing them to better manage their conditions.”

Heather Doran, M.S., Research Assistant, and Ruth Dufresne, as the Evaluators for this two-year $74,000 grant, ensure data integrity, quality assurance, and perform rapid-cycle quality improvement to strengthen CDSME programing, improve health outcomes and decrease healthcare costs. Both qualitative and quantitative data will be collected to evaluate progress toward grant objectives. Pre- and post- surveys will be collected from CDSME participants to determine change in knowledge, attitudes and skills. Focus groups and interviews will be conducted with Spectrum Generations and the other Maine Area Agencies on Aging to better understand the successes and challenges of program implementation.


For more information, contact: Ruth Dufresne,, 221-4571

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