Virtually Prioritizing a Community's Needs: What Would Make it Easier for People who are Experiencing Homelessness to Manage Their Diabetes?


  • Saania Tariq Department of Medicine, University of Calgary
  • Eshleen Kaur Grewal Department of Medicine, University of Calgary
  • Nat B Calgary Diabetes Advocacy Committee
  • Roland Booth Calgary Diabetes Advocacy Committee
  • Thami Ka-Caleni Calgary Diabetes Advocacy Committee
  • Matt Larsen Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary
  • Justin Lawson Calgary Diabetes Advocacy Committee
  • Anna Whaley Calgary Diabetes Advocacy Committee
  • Christine A Walsh Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary
  • David John Thomas Campbell Department of Medicine, Community Health Sciences, and Cardiac Sciences, University of Calgary



Diabetes, Homelessness, Diabetes Stigma, Priority Setting


Introduction: During the pandemic, a group of people with lived experience (co-researchers) was convened for a community-based participatory research (CBPR) project in Calgary, AB that aimed to explore and address barriers to managing diabetes while experiencing homelessness. The group met bi-weekly using a videoconferencing platform on internet-enabled tablets. Objectives: Our aim is to explain the process we undertook to virtually engage in priority setting to identify a research priority for the CBPR project. Methods: Co-researchers participated in 17 focus group discussions about barriers to managing diabetes while experiencing homelessness, following which they were asked to brainstorm responses to the question, “What would make it easier for people who are experiencing homelessness to manage their diabetes?” In subsequent meetings, the responses were grouped to form categories. From those, the group chose the priority using a modified nominal group process, which involved sequentially ranking, then rating the categories. Ranking involved picking 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th choices, and rating involved distributing 0 to 10 points amongst the categories.  Results: Seven categories were formed: Healthcare; Screening for Diabetes; Housing and Shelter; Access to Medications and Supplies; Healthy Food; Diabetes Awareness; and Diabetes Education. Among these, Diabetes Awareness was given the most votes during the ranking and the most points during the rating exercises. Therefore, this is the topic our research will be focused on. Conclusion: We will conduct research for the purpose of increasing diabetes awareness, among shelter staff specifically, and use forum theatre and a short narrative film to share the findings.


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Bernstein, R. S., Meurer, L. N., Plumb, E. J., & Jackson, J. L. (2015). Diabetes and hypertension prevalence in homeless adults in the United States: A systematic review and meta-analysis. American journal of public health, 105(2), e46–e60.

Grewal, E. K., Campbell, R. B., Booth, G. L., McBrien, K. A., Hwang, S. A., O’Campo, P., & Campbell, D. J. T. (2021). Using concept mapping to prioritize barriers to diabetes care and self-management for those who experience homelessness. International Journal for Equity in Health, 20, article 158.