PATH (Personal Action Toward Health) is a six-week workshop designed to support individuals who face daily challenges of living with chronic conditions.

Chronic Disease PATH Chronic Pain PATH Diabetes PATH

What is PATH?

Personal Action Towards Health (PATH) is an interactive, six-week series facilitated by two trained leaders who typically have chronic conditions themselves. During each session, PATH participants discuss self-management strategies, such as:

  • Dealing with illness and safely managing medications.
  • Talking with healthcare providers, family members and caregivers.
  • Using the mind to manage chronic disease symptoms.
  • Pacing and planning activities to more easily handle everyday activities. 
  • Setting personal action plans to reach health goals.

Our PATH Programs

MSU Extension offers three different PATH programs: Chronic Disease PATHDiabetes PATH (also known as the Diabetes Self-Management Program) and Chronic Pain PATH (also known as the Chronic Pain Self-Management Program). Diabetes PATH is recognized by the American Diabetes Association as meeting the Diabetes Support Initiative criteria for support programming, a measure of high-quality programming.

MSU Extension’s PATH programs are typically available for free or at a very low cost to participants.

Who is PATH for?

PATH programs are designed for adults living with a chronic health condition such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, emphysema, depression or other diseases. Family members and caregivers are also welcome. 

Each PATH workshop includes a group of 12-15 individuals who have a variety of chronic conditions and are interested in becoming better self-managers. By becoming active self-managers, PATH workshop participants are better equipped to face the daily challenges of living with a chronic health condition. 

Our Reach and Impact

PATH workshops have shown to reduce emergency department visits, hospital stays and health care costs. Our participants report experiencing a number of benefits from participating in PATH programs, including greater confidence in:

  • Keeping fatigue, pain, and emotional distress from interfering with daily activities
  • Using a variety of strategies besides taking medication to manage illness
  • Doing different tasks and activities to manage health conditions, reducing the need to see a healthcare provider

MSU Extension offers PATH programs in collaboration with other community agencies and organizations across Michigan. In 2019, MSU Extension reached participants in 22 Michigan counties. 


Educators Naomi Hyso and Jim Harrington explain what MSU Extension's PATH workshops are all about

Interested in Volunteering?

Are you interested in giving back to your community? MSU Extension is looking for community volunteers to help co-facilitate PATH programs. If you are interested, please contact Christi Demitz at or 616-632-7881 for more information.