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Cultural Competence in Treating A Chronic Disease: DIABETES . Lorena Drago MS RD CDN CDE Scenario: A supermarket chain with a large Hispanic customer base is promoting a diabetes program titled “ Shop for your Heart”

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Cultural competence in treating a chronic disease diabetes l.jpg

Cultural Competence in Treating A Chronic Disease: DIABETES

Lorena Drago MS RD CDN CDE

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  • Scenario:

  • A supermarket chain with a large Hispanic customer base

  • is promoting a diabetes program titled “Shop for your Heart”

  • The events will be held in Hempstead, L.I. and the Bronx.

  • The event coordinator has asked you to provide:

  • Heart healthy shopping tips

  • Food demonstration suggestions

  • Physical activity tips


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Decennial Census Counts of Major Hispanic Subgroups

New York City and Boroughs, 2000

U.S Population Hispanic Origin by Type, 2006


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Preferred Foods Based on Country/Area of Origin



Rice, beans, starchy root

Vegetables, coconut, adobo


Corn, beans,

chiles, hearty stews,

moles, chocolate

Central America

South America

Rice, beans, corn,

chiles, chocolate

Potato, corn, rice,

Annato, coriander, onions,

Beef in Brazil/Argentina

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Latin American Breakfasts



Dominican Republic

El Salvador




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The Language of Food



Central America

Beans: Habichuelas


Squash: Calabaza, Ahuyama

Beans: Frijoles

Squash: Calabaza

South America

Beans: Frijoles


Squash: Ahuyama, Zapallo

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  • Low health literacy affects patient safety

  • Less knowledge about disease and self-care

    • In a 1995 JAMA study, what percentage of

    • individuals could not understand the instruction

    • "take medication on an empty stomach?"

    • 29%

    • 39%

    • 49%

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  • 25% of patients could not determine what glucose

  • meter readings were within normal range

  • of 80-120mg/dl

  • 56% could not calculate the total carbohydrate

  • content in a container of snack chips

  • 59% could not accurately calculate an insulin dose

  • Conveying health messages successfully l.jpg
    Conveying Health Messages Successfully carbohydrate would you eat?

    • ½ cup of potatoes count as 1 CHO choice. How many choices does 2 cups of potato count as?

    • Your target blood glucose level is 60-120mg/dl. Circle the values that are in the target range

      • 55

      • 88

      • 116

      • 145

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    CONCEPT WORDS carbohydrate would you eat?

    “Balanced” “Healthy” Diet “Normal Range”


    “Fats and Oils” “Whole Grains”


    “Excessive” bleeding, drink in “moderation”

    Exercise “regularly”

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    FOUR CULTURAL VALUES carbohydrate would you eat?





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    Appeal to the well-being of the family carbohydrate would you eat?

    • Use Risk Communication

    • Explain what is “at risk”

    • How high is the risk (compare high to normal)

    • Show patient his/her risk factor

    • Provide treatment strategies

    • Include testimonials (group specific)


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    How to Develop Cultural Competency Interventions carbohydrate would you eat?

    • Country of Origin

      • Language

      • Food Tastes and Predilections

    • Health Literacy

    • Health Beliefs and Attitudes

      • Family

      • Friends

      • Faith

      • Fatalism

    • Culture is fluid – Culture guides but does not define the individual

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    Questions carbohydrate would you eat?

    • How does acculturation impact dietary behavior among Hispanics?

    • How can we ensure that patient education materials are suitable for different Hispanic subgroups?

    • What education tools have proven successful when working with Hispanics?

    • What is the best way to determine and address health beliefs among different cultural groups?

    Lorena drago ms rd cnd cde l.jpg
    Lorena Drago, MS, RD, CND, CDE carbohydrate would you eat?

    Lorena Drago, MS, RD, CDN, CDE, is a registered dietitian, consultant and certified diabetes educator. She is Senior Associate Director of Ambulatory Care Nutrition Programs at Lincoln Hospital including: Director of the Diabetes Education Program and the Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program and maintains her own private practice.

    Lorena specializes in the multicultural aspects of diabetes self-management education and is an expert in developing culturally and ethnically-oriented nutrition and diabetes education materials. She founded, Hispanic Foodways, and most recently she developed teaching tools and patient education materials such as the Nutriportion™ Measuring Cups that has the calorie and carbohydrate amounts of common foods embossed on each cup and the Nutriportion™ Hispanic Food Cards that have pictures and nutrition composition of common Hispanic foods.

    Lorena serves on the American Association of Diabetes Educators board of directors; Nominating Committee Chair of the Member Interest Group Latinos and Hispanics in Dietetics and Nutrition; and is the Chair-elect of the American Diabetes Association Latino Committee. She also served as Past President of the Metropolitan New York Association of Diabetes Educators in 2004.

    She is the author of Beyond Rice and Beans: The Caribbean Guide to Eating Well with Diabetes, published by the American Diabetes Association in October of 2006 and a contributing editor of Newsflash, a publication of the Diabetes Care and Education Specialty Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association. She is a contributing author and co-editor of the book Cultural Food Practices and Diabetes, soon to be published by the American Dietetic Association. Lorena has appeared on several national TV shows speaking about diabetes management, including The Early Show and CNBC's dLife TV. She has also appeared on New York’s “Diálogo con Glenis” a live Spanish community cable show, where she discusses nutrition and diabetes, topics especially relevant to the Latin community of the Bronx, which has the highest diabetes rate in New York City.

    Lorena speaks on nutrition education, cultural competent diabetes care and health literacy. She has been an invited guest speaker and/or faculty member at the following annual meetings: Mexican Association of Diabetes Educators, Colombian Diabetes Association, American Diabetes Association and American Association of Diabetes Educators.

    Lorena graduated cum laude from Hunter College of the City University of New York with a Masters of Science degree in Food and Nutrition, and received her BA in Home Economics, Food and Nutrition from Queens College.