Developing and implementing strategies to reduce diabetes among high-risk populations is a national priority. In the United States, South Asians (ancestry originating from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and other parts of South Asia) are disproportionately affected by type 2 diabetes (DM). Some studies estimate that South Asians in the United States are at a threefold higher risk for developing diabetes compared to the general population. Moreover, groups with lower socioeconomic status are further at an increased risk. Despite this, the best approaches to engage low-resource South Asian communities to improve diabetes prevention are not known.
At our primary care clinic in North Atlanta, we serve a diverse population, with a large proportion of lower-income and under-resourced patients, particularly South Asians. We have found high rates of diabetes and pre-diabetes among our South Asian patients and have no culturally tailored resources to address the needs of this community.
We propose to develop a new multi-stakeholder advisory board, the Atlanta South Asian Health Alliance (ASHA), as a unique community-academic partnership. The grant will be used to engage and bring together a diverse coalition of South Asians in Atlanta, with a particular focus on diabetes prevention and promoting healthy lifestyles among low-income South Asians. Our goal is to develop an alliance among clinic patients, religious leaders, small business owners, public health officials, and clinician-researchers to build capacity, develop research questions, and ultimately conduct comparative effectiveness research to address the high prevalence of diabetes in this community.