New grant expands pr

image: The next phase of this research funded by the new grant will expand attention beyond children and adolescents with prediabetes to include entire families.
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Credit: 2019 Photo by Deanna Dent / ASU News

A culture-based, community-based approach to improving the health of Latin American youth at risk for type 2 diabetes is expanding to include entire families.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases awarded $ 3.3 million to Professor Gabriel Shaibi of the College of Nursing and Edson Health Innovation at Arizona State University for their project “Preventing diabetes in Latin American families”.

“We are very much looking forward to expanding the potential impact of health promotion and diabetes prevention by reaching more families and engaging more communities,” Shaibi said.

The Dean of Edson College and Professor Judith Karshmer echoed this sentiment and added that this research is a prime example of the university’s charter in action.

“We take responsibility for the health of the communities we serve seriously, and it is imperative that they are included in the process in order to have a lasting impact. This is what Professor Shaibi and his team have done so well here, and this is why this work has been and will continue to be successful, ”said Karshmer.

Shaibi, who is also director of ASU’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, said this new grant builds on the work they started over a decade ago to address the health disparities in the local Latin American community.

Research shows that type 2 diabetes has a disproportionate impact on Latin American children, families and communities. Shaibi says these disparities are complex and involve biological processes as well as various social determinants that interact to represent the root causes of the disease.

Some of these determinants include lack of access to care, poor health literacy, and certain cultural norms that can increase the risk of diabetes.

To begin to tackle this problem, the ASU team sought out entities and organizations outside of the university to collaborate on a community-based lifestyle intervention program.

The program should take into account community, family, peer and individual factors that influence health behaviors and health outcomes over time.

It is no exaggeration to say that the team’s success to date would not have been possible without the community partners.

“We have an amazing team who continue to learn and grow together. We have been collaborating for over 10 years over multiple funding cycles and we are also committed to advancing science and improving community health, ”said Shaibi.

There is the Ivy Center for Family Wellness in St. Vincent de Paul, which leads the development and delivery of the nutrition and wellness program.

“The Ivy Center for Family Wellness is proud to be part of this group. Providing long-term solutions so that our community is empowered to live well and be healthy is our overriding goal, ”said Elva Hooker, Clinical Administrative Director at St. Vincent de Paul.

She added, “The collaboration between St. Vincent de Paul, ASU Edson College, the YMCA and Phoenix Children’s is a real testament to the impact we can have when community stakeholders come together.

Valley of the Sun YMCA not only develops and delivers the physical activity component, but its locations also host the program and support memberships for participants.

“The Y is honored to participate in this project. We’ve been providing fitness classes for youth and families for over a century in Arizona, and we know total wellness is more than fitness. This collaboration is poised to transform the community, and we’re excited to achieve our mission through this work, ”said CEO Bryan Madden.

Phoenix Children’s provides medical surveillance and recruitment assistance through its extensive network of referrals.

“The risk of developing type 2 diabetes is a constant concern in many of the patients we serve at Phoenix Children’s, and unfortunately that risk has increased during the pandemic,” said Dr. Micah Olson, study pediatrician and Pediatric endocrinologist at Phoenix for children. “Through this collaboration, we can learn how to more effectively reduce the risk of diabetes and ensure more families have access to this innovative community-based diabetes prevention program.

The Arizona Department of Health Services and the Arizona Diabetes Coalition are new to the project. They join the team to help engage other community partners who may be able to support familial diabetes prevention statewide.

In addition to the ASU research team, researchers from the University of Washington, the University of Arizona, the University of Colorado, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases will provide their expertise.

“The institutions involved have supported our team in many ways, and I am incredibly grateful to work and learn together in this vast and important area,” said Shaibi.

While the data from the previous study is still being analyzed, Shaibi says the initial impression of what they have seen so far is positive.

“The data suggested that the participants not only exhibited reduced risk factors for type 2 diabetes, but they also reported improvements in quality of life,” Shaibi said.

The next phase of this research funded by the new grant will expand attention beyond children and adolescents with prediabetes to entire families.

Shaibi says this new direction is for two reasons. First, it is a direct response to requests from families who had children in the youth-focused study. And second, because they discovered that family social support is an important and significant predictor of children’s success.

“By involving the whole family, we hope to increase the overall impact and extend the reach of diabetes prevention across generations,” he said.

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