While having a discussion with my students this week, a topic came up that I found interesting, and was wondering what other people's views were on it. We were talking about patient compliance with treatment (for diabetes in this case) and the role and availability of support groups. The question that came up was whether patients who could really use the educational aspects of a support group would avoid them because of the stigma associated with the term "support group." These groups provide a lot of educational material about managing chronic illnesses, but we wondered if people hear the term "support group" and think of things other than educational material. For example, I think it might be perceived as a place for emotional support...a cry-fest...or group for someone too weak to take care of themselves. Now, some support groups really are for emotional support, but others are more for learning about how to manage one's treatment and health better. So, part one of the question is about what you perceive the term support group to mean. For part two, do you think patients might be more likely to use such a group to learn to better manage their care if another term was used? Some ideas we tossed around as a group were, "Diabetes Education Group," or "Diabetes Management Group." Would such terms have better connotations? Of course, you could substitute whatever illness you preferred for diabetes in these examples. My students tracked down studies to show that patient education and communication with health care professionals improves compliance with treatment, so in addition to spending more time in office visits, they think getting patients to participate in these support groups that also focus more on education would help with compliance and improve long-term outcomes, but calling it a "support group" might hinder that based on preconceived notions of what that term means. So, if I haven't rambled on beyond the point of comprehension, what do others think about these ideas?