University Of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia - Small Steps for Big Changes

YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program Case Study


The University of British Columbia and the YMCA partnered with other organizations to deliver their Small Steps for Big Changes Diabetes Prevention Program at a number of the YMCA locations in British Columbia. They successfully moved 300+ participants through the program, but had to cease activity due to COVID-19.

Client Needs

  • Inherent limit to the scale of their program due to in person only sessions, local interest, geography and travel time
  • Necessity to go virtual due to COVID-19
  • Lack of participant engagement between sessions led to a decrease in retention and program completion rates
  • A disjointed document and resource management strategy

Our Process And Plan For Success

Discovery & immersion sessions to understand requirements followed by the development of a custom e-Coach platform:

  • Public facing meeting scheduler to handle inbound participant inquiries
  • Meeting & Communication cycles
  • Administrator, Coach and Participant level permission and functionality gating
  • Persistent in-meeting notes for counsellors
  • Calendaring and automated meeting reminders
  • In-session pre, during and post meeting forms for both counsellor and participant
  • Coach availability logic
  • Private label SSBC meeting room
  • Automated session recordings

How We Met The Needs Of Our Client

  • Reduced the administrative burden on SSBC staff, YMCA employees and program Counsellors
  • Improved accessibility for Participants and Coaches
  • Increased engagement and participant retention
  • Made program scalable through software and automation

The Future Of The Program

  • National expansion across Canada and into the United States
  • Deployment across the YMCA portfolio
  • Established leader in the diabetes prevention service delivery space
  • Adoption of a hybrid in-person/virtual model in perpetuity
  • UBC
  • Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  • YMCA Okanagan
  • Heart & Stroke