Diabetes education dons a multicultural approach

October 8, 2007

New outreach and education efforts are being launched to target Latinos and other Hispanic diabetes patients. One of these initiatives is NACDS' Foundation grant to the Latino Diabetes Association.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and other pharmacy-related organizations are also aware of the need for a multicultural approach to diabetes education. The NACDS Foundation, the association's philanthropic arm, recently gave a $15,000 grant to the Latino Diabetes Association (LDA) in Los Angeles to assist in LDA's education and outreach programs.

The LDA experience could end up enhancing pharmacy care nationwide, said Schneider. "Our plan is to magnify the results of this program with a replicable model for including pharmacists in multiethnic approaches to diabetes education," he said. "We'll watch what they are doing and see what they achieve."

LDA is unique in that it is the only diabetes organization focusing on inner-city Latinos, predominantly serving those in the greater Los Angeles area. According to an LDA spokesman, its diabetes prevention program is being offered free to residents of Southern California who have developed or are at risk of developing diabetes. The program includes family and caretaker support groups, intensive case management, and educational outreach components-all of particular interest to pharmacists, said Schneider.

An example of a potentially effective outreach is a "photo novella" created by a team at the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy led by associate professor Melvin F. Baron, Pharm.D. The pamphlet, titled "Sweet Temptations" and distributed in Latino neighborhood pharmacies, is a series of photos of an ongoing family discussion about diabetes. It is written in Spanish and English, with a witty story line and vivid characters. At one point, a pharmacist steps in to explain the dangers and preventive care associated with diabetes.

The project's budget was $100,000, covered by a series of grants, including one from the Institute for Community Pharmacy. "This sort of thing is so important," said Baron. "For example, in the Latino community there is a fear that it is the insulin that causes blindness and amputations. That's because so many Latinos come to treatment so late."

According to feedback from pharmacists, the pamphlet is a success, said Baron. The initial print run was 30,000 and a second run of 25,000 is planned.

THE AUTHOR is a writer based in Gettysburg, Pa.