Designing programs to improve diabetes care among Mexican-Americans has the potential to have a broad impact and to decrease the health disparities faced by this population.
Dr. Arshiya Baig and her research team are leading a project that is based in South Lawndale/Little Village, a Mexican-American neighborhood of Chicago. Little Village is a predominantly Mexican-American community that has a diabetes related mortality rate higher than the national average and higher than the average across Chicago. Since the church has an important role in many Latino cultures and families, working with churches to address diabetes is one method of tailoring diabetes programs to this community. Many church-based programs have shown promise in improving health outcomes among minority communities, but data on church-based programs for Latino populations are scarce.
Dr. Baig has partnered with two churches in Little Village: St. Agnes of Bohemia and Our Lady of Tepeyac. They have held focus groups at the churches and learned about the types of church-based diabetes programs community members desired. In 2009, Dr. Baig led the formation of the Little Village Community Advisory Board composed of community leaders and community members to assist the research team in designing an effective church-based diabetes program that incorporated existing local health care resources. Using the feedback from the focus groups and input from the Community Advisory Board, they designed: Picture Good Health/Imagínate una Buena Salud.
Picture Good Health is a bilingual church-based diabetes program. The program has eight weekly educational sessions that are held at one of the partner churches. The curriculum uses an innovative technique called “photovoice” where participants receive disposable digital cameras to document their lives with diabetes. These photos are then used in the class to guide a discussion on problem solving and provide training in self-empowerment. Participants also have access to exercise groups within the churches. The program also includes patient navigator service through Taller de Jose, a social service agency in Chicago that connects clients to resources within the community. The patient navigators assist participants in finding a local primary care physician.
The program is currently being piloted at the two partner churches to assess its impact on diabetes control. Dr. Baig and her team are currently recruiting adults with diabetes at churches in Little Village to enroll in this pilot program.
If you would like more information on Picture Good Health, please contact the study team at 773-702-0770.