The purpose of this ongoing work in Starr County, located on the Texas-Mexico border, is to
conduct clinical studies to determine the effectiveness of diabetes self-management programs
designed specifically for Mexican Americans. The programs meet national standards for
diabetes self-management education. They are provided in community settings with the primary
purpose of improving the health of Mexican Americans with diabetes and their family members,
who either have diabetes or are at risk for developing diabetes.
The diabetes self-management programs are provided in Spanish and are directed by bilingual
Hispanic clinical nurse specialists, dietitians, and community health workers. Key elements
of the programs include instruction on nutrition, self-monitoring of blood glucose,
exercise, and other diabetes self-management topics, as well as group support to promote
In the original study (1994-1998), 256 Mexican American adults diagnosed with type 2
diabetes and 256 family members or other support persons were enrolled. For one year, the
people with diabetes, along with their family members, attended small group sessions held in
churches, community health clinics, adult day care centers, and schools. Information on the
effectiveness of the program was collected at 3, 6, and 12 months; and annually thereafter.
Findings of the original study suggested that the program had a positive impact on diabetes
metabolic control. Levels of diabetes knowledge and rates of glucose self-monitoring and
attendance suggested that a shorter program - one that incorporated critical elements of the
previous successful strategy - might result in similar improvements. Thus, the goal of the
new study, funded in June 1999, was to shorten the original program and to compare it to the
previous successful program in terms of short- and long-term health outcomes.
To identify key components of the previous program, we are exploring differences between
subjects who successfully integrated self-care components of the program and who experienced
significant improvements in metabolic control and those who were not as successful. The
program is being revised and shortened, based on this information. Beginning in April 2000,
we will start recruiting participants for the clinical trial of the revised program.
- Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes ([a] two verifiable FBS test results of 140 mg/dl or
above or [b] taking or have taken insulin or hypoglycemic agents for at least one
year in the past)
- Willing to participate
- A family member, preferably a spouse or first-degree relative, who agrees to
- Migrant farm workers (not available for the year-long program)
- Medical conditions for which changes in diet and exercise levels would be