MyPlate Dissemination for Latinos in Rural Communities brings together academic, clinical, and community partners to help Latino patients living with diabetes or prediabetes access evidence-based recipes and incorporate them into their daily food preparation. Ann Cheney, PhD, of the University of California Riverside School of Medicine, Center for Healthy Communities, leads the project in partnership with Borrego Health and FIND Food Bank. This work builds on the USMEX: Unidos por Salud project that engaged grassroots community advocates to identify community health needs among Latinos in rural farm-working communities in southern California’s Inland eastern Coachella Valley. Through in-home meetings, the community shared that type 2 diabetes was a significant community concern. Even though the community sits within highly rich agricultural lands and many residents work as farmworkers, they have limited access to the fresh fruits and vegetables they harvest and pick. Many are only able to access such produce through regular food dispensaries; yet, they struggle to incorporate the produce into their daily food preparation.
To address this problem, the project team will engage patient and stakeholder groups in engagement and dissemination activities. A steering council will offer guidance to the project team and a dissemination workgroup will tailor existing MyPlate Spanish-version recipes to accommodate the language needs, health literacy levels, and available food resources of low-income immigrant and indigenous Latino patients. The project team will then produce a culturally vetted cookbook and train health educators, outreach workers, and promotoras to provide instruction on how to prepare the recipes and educate on their nutritional value. Once trained, they will disseminate MyPlate recipes through cooking demonstrations that will be held in the clinic and food distribution events in the community to model how to incorporate local food into daily food preparation using MyPlate recipes.
The objectives of this project are to:
- Establish a collaborative governance structure composed of patients, providers, clinical administrators, and community partners
- Convene a dissemination workgroup to adapt the existing Spanish-language MyPlate recipes so they are responsive to the patient population’s language needs (i.e., Purépecha), health literacy levels, and local food sources, as well as train health educators, outreach workers, and promotoras to disseminate the adapted material in clinical and community settings
- Disseminate tailored MyPlate recipes to patients through cooking demonstrations accompanied by nutrition education at Borrego clinics and cooking events in the community and capture reach and patient-centered motivation and ability to use the tailored recipes in the home setting
By bringing together academic, clinic, and community partners dedicated to addressing the social determinants of health, the team’s long-term goal is to use PCOR evidence to reduce the impact of chronic conditions such as diabetes on individuals, families, and healthcare systems serving rural communities.