Latino Diabetes Initiative Website Gets Bells, Whistles

February 15, 2011

The upgraded Joslin Diabetes Center site is 100% bilingual and bicultural, not simply translated from one language to the other.

Latinos are twice as likely to develop diabetes as Caucasians, and half the Latinos born in the United States in this century are expected to get the disease. Helping to meet this challenge, Joslin Diabetes Center’s Latino Diabetes Initiative—a comprehensive effort that combines clinical care, patient education, community outreach, research and healthcare team education—has upgraded its website with additional resources for Latinos with diabetes and their families in both English and Spanish.

“Raising awareness in the general community about diabetes in the Latino population is an important task for our Latino Diabetes Initiative,” says Enrique Caballero, MD, founder and director. “Our redesigned website allows us to share important information with many people about our work and the general challenges and opportunities with this group.”

The upgraded site is 100% bilingual and bicultural, not simply translated from one language to the other. The landing page is in Spanish and from there you can toggle back and forth between the Spanish and English pages.

Sponsored by the Verizon Foundation, the website update features details about each of the key components about LDI services and activities. Additionally, it presents educational materials that the LDI has created or adapted in Spanish, as well as highlighting current and past research efforts to better understand the effects of diabetes in the Latino population.

LDI plans to expand the website’s offerings further by incorporating interactive games and activities and bilingual video clips with tips on how to manage the disease for patients. It also will provide information on current research regarding diabetes in the Latino population and resources for healthcare providers who serve this community. As technology evolves, the possibility exists for further expansion of tools for more personalized interaction.

“The audience we reach is Latinos living with diabetes and those at risk as well as providers who serve this population,” says Dr. Caballero. “We hope to raise awareness and inform people that not only is diabetes a manageable disease, but that there are resources available to help people to better understand and deal with it.”

The greatest barriers to reaching Latinos via the Internet have been language and access. Not only has access been limited due to language barriers, the socio-economic status of much of this population tends to be low as a result of high immigration rates and low educational attainment. Compared to English-dominant men and women, Spanish-dominant and bilingual Latinos are less likely to have access to a personal computer or smartphone.

There is, however, evidence that this digital divide is decreasing. Internet use among Latino adults rose to 64% in 2008, according to the Pew Research Center. The relative youth of the Latino population also helps to smooth the adoption of Internet technologies. (Latinos had a median age of 27 years in 2009, compared with 37 years for the United States population as a whole.) Overall, current trends will dramatically broaden the potential reach of the LDI site and other online offerings that bring vital information and health care services to the Latino community.

Source: Joslin Diabetes Center