In St. Albans, Betty and Doc Halstead, both in their 80s, took it at the senior center. "Best we've had," Betty said. "Practical and useful."
In Lincoln County, Melisa Ferrell took it at the Mud River Volunteer Fire Department. "It helped me understand my husband, how his mood will change depending on what he eats and when he eats."
In Dunbar, "the people kept meeting after the class was over, because they thought it was that valuable to them," said Rev. James Patterson of the Partnership of African-American Churches.
"We've proved that West Virginians like this class, that it works, and that it can be put on for very little money," said Sally Hurst, program coordinator .
The problem: So far, the class has been offered fairly randomly. There's been no predictable schedule. The leaders have been volunteers, so the class has been offered when there was a place and willing leaders.
Now the state Bureau of Public Health wants to get organized about it, paying Marshall to train "master trainers" who can in turn train others to deliver the class. "If we can get one master trainer in each part of the state, that would be great," Thayer said.
"It's easy to train people," Hurst said. "The leaders' guide is straightforward, like a cookbook, one, two, three, do this, then this. If you follow it -- and if everyone has the book that goes with the course -- it works."
"Our goal is to make it possible for West Virginians to take a self-management class if they want to, no matter where they live," Thayer said. In one county, it might be offered by WVU Extension, a senior center in the next county, and a community health center in the next.
Eventually, he aims to get enough classes organized to post a statewide schedule online, he said. "That will take some organizing to make the pieces come together," he said.
The pieces are there. "Everyone wants to do this, and everyone's trying to figure out how," said Robert Roswell, director of the state Bureau of Senior Services.
"A lot of churches would probably like to do something like this," said Jeff Allen, director of the West Virginia Council of Churches.
Marshall will train employees of most of the county health departments this fall and winter.
Medicaid could become a major referral source in late 2013, as Medicaid begins to pay doctors and clinics to provide care management for obese people with diabetes. "CDSM would be an appropriate part of that," said Medicaid medical director Jim Becker.
In Kentucky, the Legislature gives every county health department a yearly grant to provide at least two diabetes self-management classes a year. West Virginia provides no such grants. West Virginia's training is funded with a Centers for Disease Control Community Transformation Grant, but there are no funds to actually put on the classes.
"It might make sense to hire a few people to go from place to place putting on these classes and training people to lead them," Roswell said. Maybe interested agencies could cooperate to get it going.
"We've got a long way to go," Crespo said, "but we've made a good start."
Read more about CDSM and watch video at http://www.selfmanagementonline.org.
Reach Kate Long at katel...@wvgazette.com or (304) 348-1798