Latino Diabetes Initiative Wins Distinguished Service and Leadership Award
Monday, August 20, 2012
Joslin Diabetes Center’s Latino Diabetes Initiative (LDI) is this year’s recipient of ALPFA’s Distinguished Community Service and Leadership Award for improving health care outcomes for Latinos and minorities in Boston.
Most awards are given in the name of a person, but the Distinguished Community Service and Leadership Award went to the whole LDI team. “It’s all the members of our team working together that makes LDI an effective clinical, education and research outreach initiative and a great place to work,” says Enrique Caballero, MD, the initiative’s director. The smooth operation of our initiative depends as much on the patient care coordinator helping patients find transportation to Joslin as it does me prescribing a treatment plan or the patient going through an education program.” In addition to oversight by Caballero, the LDI includes a second physician, a nurse practitioner, a nutritionist and diabetes educator, an education and outcomes coordinator, a medical office coordinator, a research assistant and a postdoctoral fellow in clinical psychology
Latinos are one of several ethnic groups that are at high risk for the development of diabetes. “The size of the problem is immense and growing says Caballero,” one out of every two Latino children born after the year 2000 in the United States will develop diabetes at some point in their lifetime.” And many of the patients we see in clinic are economically disadvantaged and had limited access to health care before coming to LDI.
LDI, established in 2002, was an early pioneer in providing culturally competent care, conducting innovative research and reaching out to educate the local, national and international Latino community. For many years Caballero was the lone Spanish-speaking provider at Joslin.
Over the years he succeeded in bringing together a team of experts and support staff. Today, the LDI offers individualized, bilingual attention and care through every step of a patient’s journey at Joslin.
The goal of the Initiative is to improve the lives of Latinos affected by diabetes or at risk for the disease through culturally oriented patient care, education, outreach and research. In addition to providing clinical care for over 700 Latino patients with diabetes, the LDI strives to raise awareness of diabetes among all Latino people in Massachusetts and at a nation-wide level by its community outreach efforts and research endeavors.
LDI has focused on developing strategies that appeal to the Latino culture and preferences emphasizing the importance of the family unit. It has been able to introduce the community to positive self-care behaviors with programs such as “Baile y Salud” dance for your health, a salsa dancing class in the community for patients and their families; “grupo de mujeres” a women’s bi-monthly support group for Latinas; “paseo por el super”: supermarket tours to help patients choose healthier economical items and the group medical visits in which patients are seen by the doctor in a group environment. Additionally, they have developed cultural appropriate patient education materials such as “La Historia de Rosa” Rosa’s Story- an audio-novella about a Spanish-speaking Latina with type 2 diabetes.
This September LDI will be hosting its first benefit concert, Ritmos de Salud ( Healthy Rhythms) on September 29 at the Jordan Hall in the New England Conservatory of Music. They goal is to raise $250,000 with the proceeds to go to continued community outreach activities. ” LDI wants to reach the patient and his or her family in their own communities and help them identify resources and develop skills to live healthier lives with diabetes or prevent the disease”
Andreina Millan-Ferro, LDI’s patient education and outcomes coordinator states that the award was an incentive to continue with our efforts. “The LDI has had a great relationship with ALPFA, a nation-wide organization that supports Latino Professionals.” It started in the US 40 years ago as a networking group for finance and accounting professionals. In the last couple years the Boston organization has started a health care chapter and Joslin’s LDI is honored to be recognized by its hardworking, dedicated staff.