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Diabetes Self-Management Education

About the Orange County DSME Program

Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) is a critical component of diabetes care where self-management behavior is the key outcome. It has a client-centered Approach which allows the person with diabetes to lead the decision making process and initiate self-care. Research shows that people with diabetes who take a DSME program have improved diabetes knowledge and self-care behavior, as well blood glucose numbers, weight loss, and overall quality of life.

The Orange County DSME Program is run under the guidelines of the NC Diabetes Education Recognition Program at the NC Dept of Public Health and is recognized by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) as meeting the national standards for diabetes self-management education. DSME includes:

  • A one hour initial health assessment
  • Two 4-hours of group education on the basics of diabetes care (8-hours group)
  • Class topics include living with diabetes, monitoring, nutrition, medication management, exercise, managing acute situations, and complication prevention
  • Lunch and incentives are provided to help clients with the behavior change process
  • The final hour is a group follow-up appointment 3 months after the group class
  • Participants may also be eligible for Medical Nutrition Therapy appointments and follow-up support opportunities to help with continuing lifestyle changes

Availability of Services

The DSME program is available to anyone including:

  • Orange County residents
  • Clients enrolled in clinic programs
  • Orange County employees/immediate family members
  • Out-of-County residents (Note: All out-of-County residents who are self-pay clients will be assessed at 100% pay on the sliding fee schedule)


Fees are charged on a sliding scale and may be covered by insurance. The health department currently accepts BCBSNC, Cigna, United Healthcare, Medicare, and Medicaid. Other insurances may also cover DSME. We are happy to check with other health insurance companies regarding coverage. Services are provided in our Hillsborough and Chapel Hill clinics.

Making a DSME Referral

Medical providers who want to make a referral should complete the form (PDF) and fax it to the Hillsborough office at 919-644-3312 or the Chapel Hill office at 919-968-2013.

Audio Announcements

Contact Us

Renee Kemske, MPH, LDN
Nutrition Program Manager
Email Renee Kemske
Phone: 919-245-2418