Stories for Change: Digital Storytelling for Diabetes Self-Management Among Somali Adults

  • End date
    Dec 30, 2021
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Mayo Clinic
Updated on 26 May 2021


Somali adults are more likely to have type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) and more likely to die from the disease than non-Somali whites. These disparities are mediated, in part, by less healthful levels of physical activity, dietary quality, medication adherence, and self-monitoring of blood glucose than non-Somali whites. Innovative approaches that arise from affected communities are needed to address these health disparities.

Community-based participatory research (CBPR) has been successful in targeting health issues among Somali and immigrant populations; CBPR is an effective approach for addressing health behaviors in a sociocultural context. In 2004, the research team developed a CBPR partnership between immigrant communities and academic institutions called Rochester Healthy Community Partnership (RHCP)

Storytelling or narrative-based interventions are designed to incorporate culture-centric health messaging to promote behavior change among vulnerable populations. Digital storytelling interventions are narrative-based videos elicited through a CBPR approach to surface the authentic voices of individuals overcoming obstacles toward engaging in health promoting behaviors to shape positive health behaviors of viewers through influences on attitudes and beliefs.

RHCP partners from Somali communities identified T2D as a priority area for intervention, and have co-created each of the formative phases leading up to this proposal. Narrative theory and social cognitive theory formed the conceptual basis for intervention development. The study team conducted surveys and focus groups to derive the approach and personnel for building an authentic intervention that was created in a digital storytelling workshop where stories about diabetes self-management were captured, recorded, and edited to derive the final intervention products in video format. The respective digital storytelling videos will be pilot tested with 80 patients in Rochester, MN. In a mirror project for Hispanic adults, the intervention was rated as highly acceptable, culturally relevant, and perceived as efficacious for motivating behavioral change.

The overall objective of this project is therefore to assess the efficacy of a digital storytelling intervention derived through a CBPR approach on self-management of T2D among Somali adults.


The study team will conduct a two-group randomized controlled trial in a primary care clinical setting at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN with Somali adults with poorly controlled T2D (hemoglobin A1c8%). The intervention group will view the 12-minute digital storytelling video. Both the intervention and comparison groups will receive diabetes education and resource cards, as well as usual clinical care. The primary outcome will be glycemic control as measured by hemoglobin A1c 3 months after intervention delivery. Secondary outcomes will include diabetes self-management behaviors, blood pressure, LDL-cholesterol, and body mass index. The impact of concomitant covariates, including sex, age, and socio-economic status, on the sensitivity of the intervention effect will also be explored.

Condition Type2 Diabetes
Treatment Digital Storytelling Intervention
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04266054
SponsorMayo Clinic
Last Modified on26 May 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Self-identifies as Somali
Between 18 and 70 years of age
Receives primary care at Mayo Clinic ECH
Visited the primary care site at least once in the least twelve months
Intention to continue receiving care at the clinic for the next six months
Diagnosis of T2D in medical record
T2D diagnosis for six months or longer
Most recent hemoglobin A1c8%

Exclusion Criteria

Not eligible if someone in the same household is participating in the study
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