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Addressing environmental, cultural, and social barriers to effective diabetes self-management in Asian American and Pacific Islander communities

Melinda D. Martin, BS1, Elisa Wong, BA2, Jeffrey Caballero, MPH1, and Nina Lynn Agbayani, BSN, RN1. (1) Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, 439 - 23rd Street, Oakland, CA 94612, 510-272-9536, mmartin@aapcho.org, (2) Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Orgranizations, 439 23rd St., Oakland, CA 94612

Diabetes is a serious condition that disproportionately affects Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), yet AAPCHO’s BALANCE Program for Diabetes’ needs assessment activities conducted in the year 2000 with people living with diabetes demonstrated that patients in AAPI communities faced many barriers to effective self-management of their disease. In response, BALANCE has funded six community health centers to implement culturally and linguistically appropriate diabetes activities for AAPI communities.

The six community health center programs aim to address environmental and cultural influences on diabetes self-management, such as lack of transportation, language barriers, and lack of ethnic-specific information on nutrition and diet. Each of the centers has developed education and outreach activities, employing creative methods to address the specific challenges identified above. Centers have held house parties to conduct outreach, created in-language health information hotlines, and held evening or weekend potluck events to demonstrate culturally-appropriate healthy food options for diabetics in their community.

These activities focus on increasing the reach of messages about diabetes self-management and the prevention of complications to groups who may not have adequate access to traditional self-management diabetes programs due to language, cultural, and environmental barriers. An extensive evaluation plan, including a logic model, has been developed to track the influence of these activities on the improvement in participant’s self-management of diabetes. Data will be available by November 2004 to show if these programs that are tailored specifically for their communities have reached their intended audiences and have helped reduce the disproportionate burden of diabetes in AAPI communities.

Learning Objectives:

Related Web page: www.aapcho.org

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Obesity, Diabetes and Nutrition: Addressing Lifestyles and Environmental Issues

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA