Mentoring in the Context of Improving Care for Latinos with Diabetes

Investigator: Alicia Fernandez, MD
Sponsor: NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Location(s): United States


The enormous growth of the Latino population with diabetes poses challenges for patients, physicians, and health care systems, particularly when language barriers exist. The proposed funding will support the expanded mentoring of early career investigators--from every level of the training pipeline--in clinical and health services research dedicated to improving outcomes for low-income Latinos with diabetes. It will also support a research project on determining Latino diabetes patients’ role in overcoming language barriers in health care, and two innovative projects aimed at empowering Latino parents with diabetes to decrease diabetes risk in their children.

The exponential growth of the US born and immigrant Latino population over the last two decades in the United States, coupled with the national increase in obesity, has led to an enormous increase in the number of Latino patients with diabetes. Effective care of these patients is often complicated by language barriers, low health literacy, and low patient engagement which all contribute to well-documented disparities in diabetes outcomes. This proposal outlines a 5 year career development plan for the candidate to expand her mentoring work with early career researchers focused on clinical and health services research dedicated to improving diabetes outcomes among low-income Latino patients. In addition to mentoring plans, the proposal outlines three specific aims to a) Identify patient perceptions of barriers and facilitators to accessing language assistance services in diabetes care; b) Explore barriers and facilitators to the establishment of healthy infant feeding habits among low income Latina women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in the context of an automated telephone self-management intervention; and c) Develop and formatively evaluate a social marketing campaign aimed at encouraging Latino parents with diabetes to decrease sugar sweetened beverage consumption in their children aged 3-11. Through the efficient leveraging of existing resources, collaborations, data, and affiliations with NIH-funded networks, the overarching goal of this application is to promote the effective mentorship of early career investigators at all levels of the research training pipeline in Latino diabetes clinical an translational research.