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Ethn Dis. 2004 Summer;14(3 Suppl 1):S117-21.

Practice-based interventions to improve health care for Latinos with diabetes.

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  • 1Family Practice Residency, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, Lawrence, Massachusetts, USA. dcleghorn@GLFHC.org


This study examined diabetes-related health disparities in a Latino population in terms of prevalence of the disease, and the extent to which practice-based interventions improve health care and health for the Latinos who have diabetes. Previous research has shown that Latinos, overall, are at greater risk for diabetes, but less is known for those of Puerto Rican and Dominican origin. Two interventions were implemented in a large primary care practice: an ADA-recognized Diabetes Self Management Education program, and clinical information feedback loops to providers regarding adherence to the Massachusetts Guidelines for the Care of Diabetes. The study identified the prevalence of diabetes to be 13.7% among Puerto Ricans, and 9.1% among Dominicans, rates 2-to-3 times that for the general population. Latino patients (N=567) who participated in a Diabetes Self Management Education Program maintained lower Hb A1c values than did a comparison group (N=432). For a random sample of Latinos with diabetes (N=98) in this study, 6 measures of health care improved significantly from 2001 to 2003. Areas of improvement among healthcare providers were: ordering a microalbumin level measurement when appropriate, prescribing ACE inhibitors as needed, providing pneumococcal and influenza vaccines, reviewing activity status and exercise, identifying smoking status, and prescribing lipid-lowering agents, as appropriate. Body mass index (BMI) for the 98 patients remained the same for both measurement periods at 32.8. Although this initial study spanned only 2 years, improvements in health care and health indices for the population are encouraging. Further study is underway to expand on these gains.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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