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Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP)

  • Need: To help people with chronic conditions learn how to manage their health
  • Intervention: A six-week, 2.5 hour per week course for individuals with chronic conditions to learn new skills and strategies for good health
  • Results: Participants have better health and quality of life, including decreases in pain, fatigue, and depression


Evidence-Based (About evidence-level criteria)

CDSMP is a six-week course developed by Stanford University that has been studied and found effective by 20+ years of research. The course is aimed at people with chronic conditions such as:

  • arthritis
  • cancer
  • depression
  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • hypertension
  • stroke

The Administration on Aging's Empowering Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities through Chronic Disease Self-Management Education Programs has provided funding for this program. The 22 grantees funded in 2012 are all charged with developing statewide delivery systems, which includes rural areas. State contacts are available for more information. In addition, through past grants, there continue to be active programs in a total of 48 states and territories.

Examples of programs underway using this approach in rural areas:

Services offered

CDSMP is a six-week course with 2.5 hour interactive classes led by trained, community-based facilitators who live with chronic conditions themselves. It covers:

  • Skill-building related to problem solving, coping and communication
  • Health strategies related to diet, exercise, managing pain and fatigue, living with a disability, and more.


CDSMP participants:

  • Have better communication with their doctors
  • Have better coping strategies and symptom management
  • Exercise more
  • Have more energy

For more information about program results:

The Case for Chronic Disease Self-Management (CDSMP) in the Aging Public Housing Population, The National Center for Health and the Aging

Findings from the National CDSMP Study, National Council on Aging

Articles about the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, Stanford School of Medicine

A Meta-Analysis of Health Status, Health Behaviors, and Health Care Utilization Outcomes of the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Stanford University provides information on:

The National Council on Aging's Center for Healthy Aging offers tools and resources to help implement a CDSMP program, as well as information on local contacts and workshops.

A toolkit for rural communities interested in implementing CDSMP was developed by the Marshall University's Robert C. Byrd Center for Rural Health.

The National Council on Aging provides access to Better Choices, Better Health, an online version of the CDSMP, focused on the general program, diabetes, and arthritis.

In addition to the generic CDSMP, which is appropriate for anyone with any type of chronic condition, there are also versions for people with specific conditions, in Spanish, and online from Stanford.

Source NCOA Center for Healthy Aging: Chronic Disease Self-Management Program
Contact person Binod Suwal
Center for Healthy Aging, National Council on Aging
Topics Health promotion and disease prevention
Date added September 17, 2013

Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RAC for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RAC or by the Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.

Phone: 1-800-270-1898

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Funding for this project was supported by Grant Number U56RH05539 from the Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents of this website are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the funder.