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UNM receives $2.3 million to study diabetes self-management for Hispanics


  UNM researchers are using a $2.3-million funding award over four years to identify the effects of cultural competence in the design of diabetes self-management programs for Hispanic diabetes patients from households with few resources.

More than 12 percent of Hispanics in New Mexico have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. Hispanics from low-income households are at an even greater risk of the ravages of the disease, which can include amputations, blindness and death.

Principal Investigator Janet Page-Reeves, PhD, research assistant professor in UNM School of Medicine's Department of Family and Community Medicine, and Lidia Regino, community co-principle investigator, will study diabetes self-management interventions that are more culturally appropriate with the award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, or PCORI.

Page-Reeves says studies show that culturally competent programs can help Hispanics self-manage their diabetes, but patients say that not all programs sufficiently respect their cultural values or account for their socio-economic limitations. “Our project will compare two models for culturally competent diabetes self-management programming,” says Page-Reeves. “Our hypothesis is that the program model that best considers patient culture and accommodates patient socio-economic circumstances will have the best outcomes.”

The UNM research team is working with a community-based nonprofit organization and a UNM Hospital program to compare two diabetes self-management program models used by many Hispanic patients from low-income households in Albuquerque, NM:

1)    The Diabetes Self-Management Support Empowerment Model is a patient-centered approach that uses patients’ self-determination to take control of their own diabetes health with follow-up support to sustain self-management achievements;

2)    The Chronic Care Model creates partnerships between health systems and communities by addressing the medical, cultural and linguistic needs of patients through the inclusion of cultural competence in patient care.

The investigation team will collaborate with two active diabetes programs in Albuquerque, selected because of their large numbers of Hispanic diabetes patients from low-income households. “Our patient advisors told us that gathering data from individuals alone does not account for important social aspects of Hispanic patients’ lives, so we will recruit patients and ask them to invite someone close to them to participate too,” Page-Reeves says. “Patients will be individuals who consider themselves to be Hispanic and who are from low-income households. We will recruit 240 patient-caregiver pairs through the two sites.”

Ultimately, Page-Reeves hopes the research will improve capacity for diabetes self-management, along with successful diabetes self-management, measured through reduced A1c, body mass index and depression.

About UNM Health Sciences Center

The UNM Health Sciences Center is New Mexico’s only academic health center and home to the state’s only Level I trauma center. It includes UNM Hospitals, UNM Sandoval Regional Medical CenterUNM Medical Group, Inc., the UNM School of Medicine and colleges of NursingPharmacy and Population Health and an extensive research enterprise. For more information, visit http://hsc.unm.edu/.


The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to continuously seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work.