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Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
May 07, 2008

Heather Howard

For Further Information Contact:
Donna Leusner

NCOA Grant Allows NJ to Expand Self-Management Program -- Program Helps Older Adults with Chronic Conditions


TRENTONHealth and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard announced New Jersey has been awarded a federal grant to expand an evidence-based program that helps people with chronic conditions better manage their illnesses.


The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP), developed at Stanford University, offers adults an opportunity to take control of their health through behavior changes that have proven effective in limiting the affects of disease and disability, as well as reducing the number of needed physician and ER visits.  This is especially important for mid-age and older adults who generally have more chronic conditions than younger persons.


“The skills developed through this program can help individuals with chronic disease to maintain both their quality of life and their independence,” Commissioner Howard said. 


New Jersey was one of eight states awarded this three-year National Council on Aging (NCOA) grant and will receive $300,000.  Other recipients are California, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon and Wisconsin.


New Jersey will use its grant to expand the program’s reach to all 21 counties, up from 13.   The grant will focus on building partnerships with statewide service delivery systems and community agencies to provide local access and program continuity following the grant period.   It will also focus on improving outreach and access to the program among the state’s diverse populations, including African-Americans, Spanish-speaking peoples and Korean immigrants.


The program is offered as a six-week course.  During once-a-week, two and a half hour sessions of activities, participants learn strategies for managing symptoms, working with health care professionals, setting weekly goals, problem-solving, relaxing, handling difficult emotions, eating well, and exercising safely and easily.  Through these classes, participants gain the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to take a more active part in their health care.


New Jersey’s CDSMP currently has 34 master trainers and 110 peer leaders.  Over the grant period, the state plans to add 50 new master trainers and 600 peer leaders and to have more than 3,000 people – including 1,500 from minority populations – complete the course.


CDSMP has been offered successfully throughout the country and worldwide.  The benefits of the program have been repeatedly demonstrated, including fewer days of hospitalization and reduced number of outpatient doctor visits by those who completed the program.  CDSMP participants demonstrate significant improvements in physical activity and cognitive symptom management, as well as improved communication with health care providers, self-reported health, fatigue and disability.


Individuals and agencies wishing to become CDSMP trainers are encouraged to call 609-943-3498.  More information on the program can be found on-line at


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