What is the Faith & Diabetes Initiative?

The Faith and Diabetes Initiative is part of Cities Changing Diabetes - Houston, and is an effort to engage leaders within communities of faith around diabetes awareness, prevention, and treatment. Central to The Faith and Diabetes Initiative is the Congregational Health Leadership program, which empowers lay leaders in diverse communities of faith to address pressing health issues, with a special focus on diabetes.

Most recently, Houston Chronicle, wrote an article about Cohort 2 participants.

Huffington Post recently featured the Faith and Diabetes Initiative in an article on the opportunities for houses of faith in chronic disease prevention.  

The DiaTribe Foundation who provides free cutting-edge diabetes insights and actionable tips for people with diabetes, ran an in-depth article on the Faith & Diabetes Initiative. 

Who is behind Cities Changing Diabetes?

Cities Changing Diabetes is a partnership program to address the urban diabetes challenge. Initiated by Novo Nordisk, the program is a response to the dramatic rise of urban diabetes and has been developed in partnership with University College London and Steno Diabetes Center, as well as a range of local partners including the diabetes/health community, city governments, academic institutions, city experts from a variety of fields and civil society organizations.

To date, the following cities are partners of the program: Beijing, Beirut, Copenhagen, Hangzhou, Houston, Johannesburg, Leicester, Mexico City,  Rome, Shanghai, Tianjin, Xiamen and Vancouver.

The aim of the program is to map the problem, share solutions and drive concrete action to fight the diabetes challenge in the big cities around the world.

Which organizations in Houston are involved in Cities Changing Diabetes?

In Houston, Cities Changing Diabetes is led by the following organizations:

  • Houston Health Department (lead)

  • American Association of Diabetes Educators

  • American Diabetes Association

  • Asian American Health Coalition

  • City of Houston HR Department

  • Clinton Health Matters Initiative

  • The Fountain of Praise

  • Harris County Public Health

  • Hispanic Health Coalition

  • Houston Business Coalition on Health

  • Institute for Spirituality and Health at Texas Medical Center

What kind of applicant are you looking for? If I already have completed DEEP, Stanford, or similar programs, do I need to attend these training sessions?

We are seeking motivated lay-persons who want to help their communities of faith become better equipped to address diabetes and other chronic health conditions. There are no prerequisites to applying and participating.

If you want to become a Congregational Health Leader under the Faith and Diabetes Initiative, you must participate in this training.

Where is the training located?

All training sessions will be held at:

Institute for Spirituality and Health, 8100 Greenbriar, #220, Houston, TX 77054

When is the training?

The first part of the training takes part over three Saturdays: October 26th, November 2nd, and November 9th, from 8:00am-4:00pm.

Following completion of the first part of the training, participants are required to run a 6-week Diabetes Self-Management Course at their community of faith.

The cohort will reconvene for the second half of the training on February 22nd and February 29th, from 8:00am-4:00pm.

What are the costs to participate?

The training is $100 per individual participant.   The nominal fee covers copying and lunch costs only.  

How do I convince the leader(s) of my community of faith that we need to become involved in this training?

We recommend setting up a time to talk with them, and presenting them with the information on this website. If you would like leadership from the Faith and Diabetes to meet with you or them, we are happy to do so. Simply use the form at the bottom of this page to contact us and we can arrange a time to speak by phone or in person.

I am not sure that I can come to all trainings, is that a problem? What happens if I miss a class?

In order to complete the training, you must attend all three sessions.

I have no formal health background, should I still apply?

Yes, absolutely! You do not need to have any formal health background to apply.

After the training, how do you help me with implementation of prevention programs in my house of faith?

After the training, we will organize follow-up meetings, provide networking opportunities, facilitate access to diabetes educators and other diabetes-related human resources, and consult with you on implementation of your projects.

Is this interfaith, or do you focus on a particular religion?

This initiative is not focused on a particular tradition, and members of communities of faith across traditions are welcome and encouraged to participate.

I am interested in applying, but have not found another person from my house of faith to join me. Can I still participate?

While the "team of two" approach is one of the most unique parts of this training, we understand if you cannot find another person to join you in participating. If this is the case, please reach out to Thomasina Burns <tburns@ish-tmc.org> to discuss options.

I am new to Houston and just joined a church, can I apply?

We are seeking applicants who are committed to improving the health of their community of faith. If you are able to commit to that, we are happy to welcome you to the training!


How do I get more information?

You are also welcome to contact Thomasina Burns via tburns@ish-tmc.org or 713.797.0600, ext 105.

I am really interested in joining the program, how do I apply?

It is very simple: click here.   Deadline is August 31st, 2018.

We need to understand your background including how long you have been active in your house of faith. 

For the application, have contact information ready for you and your training partner(s) from your community.  We strongly encourage at least two participants from each house of faith.