More than 75 percent of residents of a Latino community in southwest Chicago are at high risk of developing diabetes. By working with the community, researchers are raising awareness of the problem, educating residents about preventing diabetes and its complications, helping residents with diabetes care for themselves, and enhancing the quality of care these people receive from local health care providers.
Since 1998, the center’s bilingual project (Si Se Puede!, or Yes We Can!) has included a gestational diabetes component, nutrition workshops, cooking classes, school-based adolescent risk reduction programs, and walking clubs for parents. The activities occur at convenient neighborhood locations, and more than 2,800 adults and children aged 10 years or older participated in these activities and educational health fairs. Local health care providers volunteer at the fairs to help screen for diabetes and to offer people with diabetes flu vaccinations, blood pressure screening, cholesterol tests, and foot, eye, and dental examinations. Thousands of area residents have been reached by a media campaign that included print and broadcast public service announcements, brochures, posters, and feature articles in local Spanish-language publications.