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Research In Brief

November 2011

Prevention Research Centers Support American Diabetes Month

November is American Diabetes Month, an American Diabetes Association observance to increase awareness of diabetes. About 26 million people have the disease, and in about 7 million of these people the disease is undiagnosed. Several Prevention Research Centers (PRCs) conduct research to prevent and control diabetes.

Researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University Center for Healthy Native Communities are assessing the use of telemedicine in controlling diabetic retinopathy in American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) who have diabetes. This use of telemedicine involves having participants’ eyes imaged by a special camera during their regular diabetic care exams. The images are sent electronically to an eye care specialist who determines whether the participants need follow-up eye care. The researchers’ initial study indicated that a greater proportion of participants given the choice of telemedicine had their eyes examined than participants who were referred directly to an eye care specialist for usual care (direct examination of the retina via dilation). The researchers are continuing their investigation in a Comparative Effectiveness Research project supported by Recovery Act funds.

The University of Arizona Prevention Research Center tested the effectiveness of an intervention, Pasos Adelante, to reduce diabetes risk factors among Mexican Americans living along the U.S.-Mexico border. This population has a 50% greater risk of death from the disease than the general U.S. population. Pasos Adelante targets lack of physical activity and poor nutrition—major diabetes risk factors—by promoting walking groups and education. Participants reported having increased their physical activity and healthy eating. The Pasos Adelante manual is available in English and Spanish, and community organizations and public health agencies continue to deliver the program along the U.S.-Mexico border and elsewhere. (Cutshaw C, Staten LK, Reinschmidt KM, Davidson C, Roe D. Effects of Pasos Adelante, a chronic disease prevention and control program, on health-related quality of life and depressive symptoms in a Latino border community. Preventing Chronic Disease. Forthcoming 2012.)

Other PRCs conducting research to prevent and control diabetes include

  • Yale University Yale-Griffin Hospital Research Center: Researchers are assessing an intervention delivered by community health advisors (CHAs) in schools, churches, and health centers in Bridgeport and New Haven, Connecticut. The intervention involves peer support, mentoring, education, and physical activity, and is aimed at African Americans, who have a 77% higher risk of diagnosed diabetes than non-Hispanic whites. This project builds upon previous research by the Yale researchers that indicated a need for specific selection criteria for CHAs and a standardized curriculum for CHA-led interventions.
  • University of Massachusetts Medical School Prevention Research Center: Researchers are evaluating the effectiveness of a program called Latinos en Control at a health center in Worcester, Massachusetts. The program is designed to increase diabetes self-management skills among Latinos with type 2 diabetes who do not seek regular care and to help participants make medical appointments and get diabetes medication.
  • New York University School of Medicine Health Promotion and Prevention Research Center: Researchers have established Project RICE (Reaching Immigrants through Community Empowerment), in which community health workers collect information about access to health care and attitudes toward diabetes prevention from members of New York City’s South Asian-American and Korean-American communities. The researchers are using this information to select an intervention to reduce diabetes risk factors. The intervention then will be implemented and evaluated.

For more information on these and similar projects, go to the Research Projects page and search Health Topics for “Diabetes.”


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