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Background. Over 70% of the world’s patients with diabetes reside in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs), where adequate infrastructure and resources for diabetes care are often lacking. Therefore, academic institutions, health care organizations, and governments from Western nations and LMICs have worked together to develop a variety of effective diabetes care models for resource-poor settings. Methods. A focused search of PubMed was conducted with the goal of identifying reports that addressed the implementation of diabetes care models or initiatives to improve clinical and/or biochemical outcomes in patients with diabetes mellitus. Results. A total of 15 published manuscripts comprising nine diabetes care models in 16 locations in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Asia identified by the above approach were systematically reviewed. The reviewed models shared a number of principles including collaboration, education, standardization, resource optimization, and technological innovation. The most comprehensive models used a number of these principles, which contributed to their success. Conclusions. Reviewing the principles shared by these successful programs may help guide the development of effective future models for diabetes care in low-income settings.