What is The Chronic Disease Self Management Program (CDSMP)?

The Chronic Disease Self Management Program (CDSMP) is a community course which people with different chronic diseases attend together.

The small group courses are 6 weeks long, meeting once a week for 2 hours 30 minutes, and are led by at least one peer leader with a chronic condition. It is the process in which the program is taught that makes it effective The sessions are highly interactive, focusing on building skills, sharing experiences and support.

Mutual support and success build the participants' confidence in their ability to manage their health and maintain active and fulfilling lives.The course teaches the life skills needed in the day-to-day management of chronic conditions and to embrace life's opportunities.

Organisations wanting to offer CDSMP courses need a minimum of two course Leaders and a license from Stanford University. For organisations to have their own in-house training capacity two Master Trainers are required.

Train the Trainer Model

There are three levels of leadership in the CDSMP

  • Leaders deliver the course in the community
  • Master Trainers are also able to deliver the community course AND train leaders (subject to authorization)
  • T-Trainers (Pauline and Sally) are authorised by Stanford Patient Education Research Centre. They can deliver the community course, train leaders and train master trainers

Training as a leader takes 4 days and as a master trainer takes 4 ½ days.

Subjects covered include:

  • Techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation
  • Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance
  • Appropriate use of medications
  • Communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals
  • Nutrition
  • How to evaluate new treatments

Each participant in the workshop receives a copy of the companion book, Living a Healthy Life With Chronic Conditions.


Organisations wanting to offer any Stanford program requires a license for each program. For more information about licensing requirements, please Contact Us or see http://patienteducation.stanford.edu/licensing/


The program was evaluated with over 1,000 people with heart disease, lung disease, stroke or arthritis participated in an randomised, controlled test of the Program, and were followed for up to three years. People who took the Program, when compared to those who did not, demonstrated significant improvements in exercise, cognitive symptom management, communication with physicians, self-reported general health, health distress, fatigue, disability, and social/role activities limitations. They also spent fewer days in the hospital, and there was also a trend toward fewer outpatients visits and hospitalizations. The data yielded a cost to savings ratio of approximately 1:4. Many of these results persist for as long as three years.


Lorig KR, Sobel DS, Stewart AL, Brown Jr BW, Ritter PL, González VM, Laurent DD, Holman HR. Evidence suggesting that a chronic disease self-management program can improve health status while reducing utilization and costs: A randomized trial. Medical Care, 37(1):5-14, 1999.

Lorig KR, Ritter P, Stewart AL, Sobel DS, Brown BW, Bandura A, González VM, Laurent DD, Holman HR. Chronic Disease Self-Management Program: 2-Year Health Status and Health Care Utilization Outcomes. Medical Care, 39(11),1217-1223, 2001.

Lorig KR, Sobel DS, Ritter PL, Laurent D, Hobbs M. Effect of a Self-Management Program on Patients with Chronic Disease. Effective Clinical Practice, 4(6),256-262, 2001.

Cross Training

People wanting to be trained in the Diabetes or Chronic Pain Self Management Programs must first undertake CDSMP training as this provides the necessary foundational skills. Cross Trainings take 1-2 days per program.

For more information on Diabetes cross training or Pain cross training please Contact Us.