Diabetes Knowledge, Management, and Prevention Among Haitian Immigrants in Philadelphia

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Abstract

Purpose

Guided by the PEN-3 Cultural Model, the purpose of this study is to generate culturally framed insight into diabetes knowledge, management, and prevention among Haitians. Despite the disproportionate distribution of type II diabetes mellitus among US minorities, limited research explores outcomes within racial ethnic groups. It is particularly important to disaggregate the large racial-ethnic groups of black given the population growth among foreign-born blacks, such as Haitians, whose population has more than quadrupled in recent decades.

Methods

Focus group interviews were employed to understand diabetes knowledge, management, and prevention in the Haitian immigrant population in Philadelphia. Interviews were conducted in 2 groups: (1) people living with diabetes and (2) an at-risk sample for diabetes (defined as 30 and older with self-reported family history of diabetes). Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim in preparation for content analysis.

Results

Of the 10 participants, who were recruited through a Philadelphia church-based population, ages ranged from 41 to 91, with an average of 65. Content analysis revealed 3 emergent themes across: (1) cultural identity, including person, extended family, and neighborhood; (2) relationships and expectations, including perceptions, enablers, and nurturers; and (3) cultural empowerment, including positive, existential, and negative.

Conclusions

Results may inform culturally appropriate diabetes interventions for Haitians. Future research should explore compliance with food recommendations as well as the cultural competency of health care professional’s information delivery.

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