Better Choices, Better Health

Frequently Asked Questions


Who is eligible to participate in the workshop?

Although geared primarily for people age 60 and older, any adult in Allegheny County living with a chronic condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or stroke (among others) who is interested to learn strategies for more effectively managing their condition may register for the workshop. No medical history or proof of medical condition is required.


How much does it cost to take the workshop?

Nothing. The workshops are free.


Do I need to buy the book or other materials for this class?

No. Each participant in the workshop receives a copy of the companion book, Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions.


How long do the workshops last?

The workshops are held for six consecutive weeks at the same time and day each week. Workshop sessions last for 2 ½ hours.


How many people will be in the workshop?

The workshop size ranges from 10 to 18 people.


Where was this program developed?

The Better Choices, Better Health® program is another name for the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) that was developed by Dr. Kate Lorig at Stanford University in 1996. CDSMP programs have been implemented all over the country and in various international locations. The program is evidence based, which means that scientific studies have proven that the program, when presented correctly, results in positive outcomes for the participants.


What are the positive outcomes from this program?

In the Stanford study, people who participated in the program demonstrated significant improvements in exercise, cognitive symptom management, communication with physicians, self-reported general health, health distress, fatigue, disability, and social/role activities limitations. They also spent fewer days in the hospital, and there was also a trend toward fewer outpatient visits and hospitalizations.


Who facilitates the workshops?

Workshops are facilitated by two trained leaders, one or both of whom are non-health professionals with a chronic disease themselves.

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