Joyce Page, a native of Durham, North Carolina (NC), is a graduate of NC Central University and the School of Public Health, UNC-Chapel Hill. In addition, she holds certificates in public management (NC State Personnel) and chronic disease self-management (Stanford School of Medicine).
Ms. Page has worked in public health for over seventeen (17) years at the federal, state and local levels. She has also worked with non-profit organizations, including the General Baptist State Convention of NC, Inc., where she developed diabetes prevention programs in small church congregations from predominantly rural areas of the state. Her primary focus is the elimination of health disparities in African-American populations through community partnerships with governmental agencies. Most of her work has been in the prevention and control of diabetes and related illnesses.
Since 2003, Ms. Page has served as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Public Health Education, NCCU. She also serves the NC Division of Public Health as the Director of Project DIRECT. DIRECT is an acronym for Diabetes Interventions Reaching and Educating Communities Together. Funded in 1994 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), DIRECT was their largest community-based demonstration project.
Project DIRECT involved a partnership with the NCCU Department of Public Health Education, the state and local health departments, and most importantly volunteers from the Southeast Raleigh community. Ms. Page lead this collaborative from 1999 to 2008. During this time DIRECT provided interventions in diabetes screenings, diabetes management, nutrition, and group walking. Surveys and health examinations were conducted in 1996-97 and 2003-04 with randomly selected adults in the Southeast Raleigh community and a control community 80 miles away (Greensboro). Results found that residents in Raleigh were less sedentary and made more attempts to lose weight than persons in Greensboro. Although the incidence of diabetes rose in both communities, the rates of increase in diabetes were significantly slowed in the Southeast Raleigh community. Rates doubled in Greensboro (9.3% to 18.6%), while in Raleigh, the increase was only from 10.5% to 16.7%.
Ms. Page continues the Project DIRECT legacy by: 1) leading the Project DIRECT Academy, a 2½ day workshop to share lessons learned from the project with teams of community volunteers and public health workers, 2) developing partnerships with community organizations, local health departments and other public health agencies to address health disparities in small rural communities, and 3) training community volunteers and health professionals as Chronic Disease Self Management Workshop Leaders, able to teach individuals new skills to manage their long term conditions.