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A. Enrique Caballero, M.D.

Research Summary

Racial and ethnic minorities in the United States suffer from type 2 diabetes and its complications at alarming high rates, according to A. Enrique Caballero, M.D. The rapidly increasing number of people from culturally diverse populations, the high rates of type 2 diabetes in these groups and the existence of diabetes care disparities between these groups and the White population contribute to a particular challenge in our current health care system—and these aspects form the basis for much of Dr. Caballero’s work at Joslin Diabetes Center.

The Latino Diabetes Initiative at Joslin Diabetes Center, founded and directed by Dr. Caballero is a comprehensive clinical and research effort to improve the lives of Latinos with diabetes or at risk for the disease. This initiative integrates a culturally oriented clinical care and patient education program, a Clinical Research Program, Community Outreach activities and Health Care Professionals Education.

In order to effectively tackle the problem of suboptimal diabetes care among Latinos and to contribute to the elimination of health care disparities, the development of strategies based on a thorough understanding of the challenges and opportunities at the patient, health care provider and health care system level is imperative.

At the patient level, Dr. Caballero and his team have studied the presence and impact of multiple medical, psychological, socio-economic and cultural factors on diabetes care among Latinos.  Factors such as acculturation, body image, depression, education, health literacy, family and social support, health beliefs, fears, myths, language, religion and socio-economic status, among others often play a role in the development and/or course of type 2 diabetes in this population. 

This population is at a high risk for type 2 diabetes and its complications, with much of the risk starting at early stages in life.   For instance, in a recent study, Dr. Caballero identified that endothelial dysfunction (inflammation of the inner layer of blood vessels), considered an early event in the development of atherosclerosis is present in overweight Hispanic/Latino children and adolescents. These findings suggest that these young individuals are not only at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes early in life, but also cardiovascular disease.

At the health care provider level, Dr Caballero’s work in the area of professional education has helped in the understanding of some of the common challenges that physicians and their teams often face in the pursue of providing better care to this population.  As a result, Dr Caballero’s efforts have lead to the development of effective health care professional education programs across the country and internationally.  

Dr Caballero’s research efforts are leading toward the identification of effective strategies to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes among Latinos.  These strategies may also be applicable to other vulnerable and underserved populations in the country and around the world. 

Biography

Dr. A. Enrique Caballero is the Director of the Latino Diabetes Initiative and Director of Medical Affairs, Professional Education, Staff Endocrinologist and Clinical Investigator at the Joslin Diabetes Center, as well as an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is a tutor of the culturally competent care curriculum at Harvard Medical School. 

Dr. Caballero graduated from the National University of Mexico Medical School where he was awarded with the “Gabino Barreda” medal for the highest level of academic achievement in his class.  He then completed his residency in Internal medicine and fellowship in Endocrinology at the National Institute of Nutrition in Mexico, and went on to complete a master’s degree in Clinical Epidemiology in Mexico. In addition, he completed a fellowship program in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Lahey Clinic/Deaconess Hospital/Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston and the Program on Clinical Effectiveness at the Harvard School of Public Health.  

Dr. Caballero developed the Joslin Latino Diabetes Initiative at Joslin that was launched in the summer of 2002.  This is a comprehensive effort that integrates culturally oriented activities in the areas of research, patient care and education, community outreach and professional education.     This initiative has received local, regional, national and international recognition. 

Dr. Caballero is also the 2009 recipient of the “Alberto Houssay” award by the National Minority Quality Forum and the 2011 recipient of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists ( AACE ) award for his work on health care disparities and with underserved populations. 

Page last updated: April 19, 2014