244384 Diabetes Island: A virtual world to support an underserved population with diabetes

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 9:10 AM

Laurie Ruggiero, PhD , Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Illinois-at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Colleen Monahan, DC, MPH , Center for the Advancement of Distance Education, UIC-School of Public Health, Chicago, IL
Lauretta Quinn, MSN, PhD , College of Nursing, Department of Biobehavioral Health Science, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Ada Moadsiri, MPH, CHES , School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Kirstie K. Danielson, PhD , Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, School Of Public Health, Chicago, IL
Ben S. Gerber, MD, MPH , Section of Health Promotion Research, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Background. Diabetes has been identified as an emerging epidemic and is continuing to grow in prevalence. The burden of diabetes, including prevalence and risk of complications, is greater for low-income individuals and minority groups, especially African Americans. The Healthy People 2010 report notes that the burden of diabetes can be reduced through facilitating optimal self-management. The internet offers a new approach to reaching large populations with diabetes, while removing barriers often seen in underserved populations. In particular, Second Life, the most frequently used virtual world environment, with millions of registered users offers a unique opportunity for reaching people with diabetes. Purpose. The study purpose is to develop, implement, and evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and impact of a Second Life virtual reality intervention (“Diabetes Island”). Methods. Diabetes Island is designed to provide diabetes self-management information, experiential activities, and support to facilitate optimal diabetes self-management in African Americans with type 2 diabetes attending primary care clinics. Diabetes Island includes interactive contextual experiences in a virtual world that will provide learning and problem solving opportunities, live in-world educational events hosted by multidisciplinary health care professionals, and opportunities for interactions with others with diabetes. Results. Data collection is ongoing. This presentation will include a demonstration of the internet based virtual world application and will provide lessons learned in its development and preliminary findings from its evaluation. Discussion. If feasible, acceptable and effective, this intervention has the potential to be easily expanded for other populations and to be easily implemented in other primary care clinics.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the session, the participant will be able to: 1. List ways the virtual world can be used to help educate and support people with diabetes and other health conditions 2. Describe useful strategies for developing and tailoring virtual world applications for underserved populations

Keywords: Underserved Populations, Diabetes

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract author on the content I am responsible for because I am a professor in public health and researcher and I oversee research grants and develop intervention programs on public health topics, especially related to diabetes self-management
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.