University of Washington School of Public Health

UW SPH News: Donald Patrick Part of Team to Research Diabetes Prevention in Latino Youth

Donald Patrick Part of Team to Research Diabetes Prevention in Latino Youth


Donald Patrick, professor of health services at the University of Washington School of Public Health, is a member of a team that received a five-year, $3.1 million grant to research diabetes-related disparities among Latino youth.

Funding comes from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The project is a collaboration between Arizona State University, Phoenix Children's Hospital, the Valley of the Sun YMCA, the Family Wellness Program of St. Vincent de Paul Medical and Dental Clinic, the University of Washington and NIDDK.

The team plans to enroll 120 pre-diabetic adolescents who will be randomized to a community-based diabetes prevention program or a usual care control group and followed over the course of a year to assess changes in diabetes risk factors. This new study addresses critical gaps in how diabetes prevention interventions for obese Latino youth are developed, implemented and evaluated.

"Preventing diabetes in high-risk Latino youth is one of the most important goals of chronic disease prevention," said Patrick, director at the UW's Seattle Quality of Life Group and director of the Biobehavioral Cancer Prevention and Control Training Program, funded by the National Cancer Institute. "This group, not yet diabetic, can participate in family-wide activities that keep them from converting to diabetes.  Latino adolescents are aware of their family members struggling with diabetes and the complications and consequences."

Obesity and type 2 diabetes are major public health challenges that disproportionately impact Latino youth.  Prediabetes is an intermediate stage in the development of type 2 diabetes where blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes. Few diabetes prevention programs focus on this high-risk population.

Gabriel Shaibi, associate professor at Arizona State University’s College of Nursing & Health Innovation, and will serve as principal investigator for the study.

"The pilot results have been very positive, as indicated by the weight management results and reports from the youth themselves," said Patrick, who is also an ajdunct professor of epidemiology. "My role in this project is bringing quality of life measurement to the evaluation of effectiveness and to elements of the intervention focused on improving self-esteem and body image.  It is exciting to be working with Dr. Shaibi and his colleagues and the families participating in this project, as the youth are good role models for us all in management of our health and health prospects."