Conversation Maps Generate Healthy Conversation about Diabetes

Conversation Maps look like a set of very large and colorful children'splacemats. Three feet wide and five feet long, each map is covered with akids-book-style landscape painting illustrating one of five topics:

  • Diabetes Overview
  • Diabetes and Healthy Eating
  • Blood Glucose Monitoring
  • Natural Course of Diabetes
  • Gestational Diabetes

The Healthy Eating Map, for example, shows a lively street scene and an outdoorfood market.

More reminiscent of a kid's carpet or a Lego accessory than a diabetes educationtool, the maps have a very ambitious goal: they aim to transform the way inwhich patients learn about diabetes. Used in a group composed of three to tenpatients and led by a trained educator, they stimulate diabetes-focusedconversation that lasts about two hours. The images on the maps create a "commonmental model" that brings the patients together and gently prompts them to sharestories, ask questions, and develop action plans to make behavior changes.

The maps come with downloadable tools, such as activity cards titled "Myth" and"Fact," to spark conversation and add to the entertaining feel of theexperience. Through the use of these game-like elements, the entire map sessionbecomes comfortable and non-threatening.

Thanks to a sponsorship by Merck and a partnership with the ADA, more than10,000 diabetes healthcare professionals can receive free training in the use ofConversation Maps over the next three years, as well as a complimentary set ofthe maps and map accessories. To sign up for the training, healthcareprofessionals can go to

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