Author ORCID Identifier


Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Juan Lu, Ph.D, MPH, MD

Second Advisor

Steven Cohen, MPH, Dr.P.H.

Third Advisor

Robert Perera, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Edmond Trey Wickham III, MD, FAAP, MPH


Background: Diabetic foot ulcers are the result of multiple complications from hyperglycemia and lead to poor quality of life and high healthcare costs. The annual diabetes foot screening exam (ADFSE) and prevention interventions can reduce DFUs up to 75%. In 2015, 71% of the US population received the ADFSE.

Objectives: The main objectives of this dissertation were: 1) to determine the association between adherence to diabetes self-management behaviors and the ADFSE, 2) to determine the association between concordant and discordant comorbidities and the ADFSE and 3) to determine the association between the performance of diabetes preventive care processes, number of office visits for diabetes and the completion of the ADFSE.

Methods: Three cross-sectional studies used data from the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Logistic regression models were evaluated to assess the association between the self-management behaviors and the ADFSE. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to assess the simultaneous, direct effects of concordant and discordant comorbidity loads on the ADFSE and the performance of diabetes preventive care processes and the number of office visits for diabetes care on the ADFSE.

Results: In 2015, between 78.2% and 80.4% of the US population with diabetes received the ADFSE. Performance of the ADFSE was 77% less likely (OR: 0.33, 95%CI: 0.25-0.44) in those who do not perform self-foot inspections and 40% (OR: 0.59, 95%CI: 0.45-0.76) less likely in those who have never received the pneumococcal vaccination. Receiving the ADFSE was 50-80% less likely in patients who do not self-monitor blood glucose at least one time per day, depending on insulin use and receipt of diabetes education. Neither concordant comorbidities (β=0.226, p=0.086) nor discordant comorbidities (β=0.080, p=0.415) had a direct association with the performance of the ADFSE. The collection of preventive care processes demonstrated a 7% (OR: 1.07, 95% CI: 1.05-1.10) increase in the likelihood the ADFSE was performed

Conclusions: Performance of the ADFSE may be improved through multiple types of interventions. Patient-based interventions to increase adherence to self-management behaviors is one route. Programs to improve overall diabetes care in the clinical setting may also help to further improve completion of the ADFSE.


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