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Adapting Diabetes Prevention Program for Different Cultures

By Anne Dybsetter, Extension Educator — Health and Nutrition

University of Minnesota Extension staff in health and nutrition are planning, piloting, and documenting adaptations to Individuals and Communities Acting Now to Prevent Diabetes® (or I CAN Prevent Diabetes), a diabetes prevention program. The adaptations are to make the program culturally relevant for Somali and Spanish-speaking populations, while maintaining content- and principle-based fidelity and ensuring intended outcomes and impacts.

Through this 2-year project, the I CAN Prevent Diabetes course is being implemented in two different cultural communities in southwestern Minnesota:
  • The Latino community in Worthington.
  • The Somali community in Willmar.
The project team is gathering information to help adapt I CAN Prevent Diabetes to be accessible and culturally relevant for these populations. Sources of information include local cultural guides, focus groups with community members, interviews with community partners, and intensive reflection by SNAP-Ed educators. Adaptations are addressing issues such as tracking food intake without relying on literacy skills, building family support, reducing barriers to attending class, and cultural perceptions of the concept of prevention.

This project involves different levels of  collaboration. At the state level, Extension Health and Nutrition is collaborating with Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to fund the work and actively support the research. At the local level, SNAP-Ed educators are collaborating with partners to host I CAN Prevent Diabetes and help reduce barriers to participation. The following are key partners to making the pilot classes possible:
  • Adult Basic Education
  • Area YMCAs
  • ReYou Wellness program of Rice Memorial Hospital
  • Worthington Regional Healthcare Foundation
  • Local public health
Finally, the Health and Nutrition team is working with community members as cultural guides and consultants.

Minnesota Department of Health is partially funding the project, with their funding largely supporting the research portion of the Somali adaptation. The rest of the project is support by the SNAP-Ed grant and other funds. This project began in Spring 2015. MDH funding is expected through June 2016. Project completion is estimated for Spring 2017.

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