Express Outreach Award Highlights: Diabetes Information Outreach to the Latino/Hispanic Population of Pomona, CA
by Patricia Vader and Frances Chu
Harriet K. & Philip Pumerantz Library, Western University of Health Sciences
Pumerantz Library at Western University of Health Sciences received an outreach funding award in August 2011, to plan and implement a diabetes information outreach program to the Hispanic community of Pomona, located roughly 30 miles east of Los Angeles. This resulted in a pilot program to teach the community members about a range of topics related to diabetes, and how to use MedlinePlus to find information related to the health issues associated with diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is often described as an “epidemic” among Hispanics. In the 2010 US Census, 86.54% of the residents of Pomona declared themselves as Hispanic. Using HealthyCity.org, we determined that 29.7% of the Hispanic community has been diagnosed as diabetic or pre-diabetic. According to the Office of Minority Health, Hispanics are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. According to the reference librarians at Pomona Public Library, the most frequently asked health question is related to diabetes. In addition, the reference librarians related that many of the people in the community do not have access to computers in their homes nor are they familiar with how to use a computer or navigate the Internet. With this in mind, the library proposed a pilot program to reach the Hispanic members of the community, to teach them basic navigation skills and how to use MedlinePlus.
We partnered with Pomona Public Library, because it is heavily used by the community as a resource for computer and Internet access. We also partnered with the Health Sciences Education (HSE) department of the College of Allied Health, to design and present information about diabetes and self-care. In addition, medical students in the Service Learning program in the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP) designed activity sheets to use in the hands-on component of each session. All partners were present to assist in the hands-on component, since the skill levels varied greatly and some required one-on-one assistance and training. There were four sessions offered at the public library and several community members attended all four sessions. We used brochures from the National Library of Medicine to give to the attendees and created additional handouts ourselves.
The major accomplishments of this project gave the Hispanic/Latino community members new skills and knowledge, and empowered them to locate quality information about diabetes and self-care. With some minor changes, we have determined that this is a sustainable program and future presentations will be planned on other health topics. The librarians at Pumerantz Library and the faculty of the HSE program are working to include portions of this outreach program as part of the curriculum.
Office of Minority Health. (2011). Retrieved June 15, 2011. http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/content.aspx?lvl=2&lvlID=54&ID=3324
Percent of Hispanic Community Members Diagnosed with Diabetes or Pre-Diabetes. (2009) California Health Interview Survey (CHIS); created on HealthyCity.org, 05-17-2012.