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Frequently Asked Questions

How are the subjects selected for this study?
The subjects are all Black women between the ages of 40 and 60 years old, with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).  Participants are recruited from Boston Medical Center and BMC health centers. Subjects volunteer to participate in the study and are screened via a telephone interview. Once accepted into the study, they will be randomly placed into groups receiving their diabetes education in face-to-face groups or via Second Life at home.

Will the women in the face-to-face groups learn the same information as the women in the Second Life groups?
We have made every effort to standardize the content for both populations. The same diabetes educators will facilitate both face-to-face and online groups; the curriculum is the same for both; the group sizes are the same, the amount of contact hours are consistent, and the amount of computer training is the same. Having said that, the experience in an online, virtual world is bound to differ to an experience in a real world setting. And it is that difference – and its impact - which this study intends to measure.

What is the advantage to meeting in an online virtual world?
The primary advantage is that our participants can join their group and individual meetings from home, without the need to travel to a physical meeting place. In addition to that convenience, the immersiveness of the virtual world gives everyone a sense of “being there” in a way that a webinar or telephone meeting does. Virtual worlds also allow simulations of events, activities, or ideas that are difficult or impossible to do in real life. It is also possible that the anonymity of this environment will encourage patients to disclose more information that could help them overcome barriers to healthier life styles.

How will the participants get online?
All subjects will be given a laptop computer with a 4G USB wireless modem.

How long with the program run?
Women in Control is a year-long grant. Our first group of participants will begin in June and the last group will begin in August. The program is 10 weeks long for each group.

What is the research question in this study?
Will subjects in the virtual world program demonstrate greater impact at study-end on health behaviors than subjects in the real world, as measured by patient activity levels: calories consumed; adherence to prescribed medication regime; and decrease trends in overall disease indicators (hemoglobin a1c values, body mass, LDL, and blood pressure)?

How can I find out more information about Women in Control?
Please use the information on the Contact Us page to send an email or call us. We’ll be happy to talk with you!

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