Better Choices, Better Health

Stanford's Chronic Disease Self-Management Program in New Hampshire





Stanford's Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, also known as "Better Choices, Better Health," is a six-week program that runs for 2 ½ hours each week in community settings, senior centers, and physicians offices. People with different chronic health problems attend the program together. Workshops are facilitated by two trained leaders, one or both of whom are non-health professionals (referred to as lay leaders) with chronic diseases themselves.

What is covered in the program?

  • Disease related problem solving
  • Communication skills
  • Managing emotions
  • Exercise
  • Developing patient/physician partnership
  • Use of community resources
  • Nutrition
  • Managing medications
  • Advanced directives
  • Cognitive symptom management
  • Program Outcomes

The Division of Family and Community Medicine in the School of Medicine at Stanford University developed, tested and evaluated this program and found the following:

  • Subjects who took the program, when compared to those who did not, demonstrated significant improvements in exercise, cognitive symptom management, communication with physicians, self-reported general health, health distress, fatigue, disability, and social/role activities and limitations
  • Spent fewer days in the hospital
  • Trend toward fewer outpatient visits and hospitalizations
  • Cost to savings ratio of 1:10
  • For more information about program outcomes and Stanford's Chronic Disease Self-Management program, visit their website.

Leader Trainings:

  • Are you interested in providing the CDSM program for members of your community with chronic diseases to help them increase their ability to manage their illnesses on their own? This training will prepare you to hold a 6 week workshop series to provide the Better Choices, Better Health Chronic Disease Self-Management program and is a great opportunity to join a supported network of other NH leaders offering this program throughout NH.
  • Do you have a chronic disease or are you a caregiver of someone with a chronic disease? The program is lay-led and, thus, you do not need to be a health professional to lead the workshops- in fact, Stanford recommends that Leaders be individuals living with a chronic condition or a caregiver for someone with a chronic condition.
  • Do you have a co-leader?  “Better Choices, Better Health” workshops are held in the community and are led by two trained Leaders. Thus, it is important to partner with an already trained leader or to attend with the leader training with a partner if possible. If you need a co-leader, let us know and we will try to help!

Can you commit to offering at least one 6-week program within one year, preferably within three months of being trained? It is really helpful to lead a training soon after to solidify your learning. Many communities find that offering two-three trainings per year is a great way to keep the program sustainable through word-of mouth.


New Program from Stanford:

Stanford  introduces a new program called Diabetes Self-Management Program. This workshop focuses on people with Type 2 diabetes, and like the Better Choices Better Health program it is conducted over six weeks in  2 1/2 hour sessions held once a week and facilitated by 2 trained Leaders, one or both of whom are peer leaders with diabetes themselves.                                                                                

Individuals who wish to become DSMP leaders participate in a 4 1/2 day Leader Training.

Current CDSMP Better Choices Better Health  Leaders who wish to become certified as DSMP Leaders participate in a special 2 day DSMP Cross-over Training program being offered November 16 and 22, 2016 in Concord. To register for this program, go to the Upcoming Events tab, and look for the listing. You will need to use the promotional code  DSMP111616 to register - one person per registration. Class size is limited to 18 participants.  Click here for the flyer.

More details on both training options is available by contacting Gina Savinelli at                                                                      



Workshops in New Hampshire and Vermont
View the Better Choices, Better Health video for more information on the program and how to become a Trained Leader.

For information about upcoming workshops in New Hampshire:

Or, contact:

For workshops in Cheshire, Sullivan, Merrimack, Hillsborough, Rockingham, and Strafford Counties:

Gina Savinelli, Southern NH AHEC Program Coordinator

128 State Route 27, Raymond, NH 03077 | (603) 895-1514 x 2 l email


For workshops in Coos, Carroll, Grafton, and Belknap Counties:

Becky McEnany, Program Coordinator, Northern NH AHEC/North Country Health Consortium

262 Cottage Street, Suite 230, Littleton, NH 03561 | (603) 259-3700x254 |