A model for using community-based participatory research to address the diabetes epidemic in East Harlem

Carol R. Horowitz, Judith Z. Goldfinger, Sara E. Muller, Romina S. Pulichino, Thomas L. Vance, Guedy Arniella, Kristie J. Lancaster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Diabetes prevalence and mortality are increasing, with minority populations disproportionately affected. Despite evidence that weight loss due to improved nutrition and increased physical activity can prevent or control diabetes, there is often a disconnect between this evidence and individuals' lifestyles. Methods: East Harlem is a predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhood that has the highest rates of diabetes prevalence and mortality in New York City. The East Harlem Diabetes Center of Excellence is a community-centered coalition. To help direct their work, the coalition used their experiences, research, outreach, and literature review to build a conceptual model describing how local factors affect health behaviors and health outcomes such as obesity and diabetes. Results: This model describes the relationship between the physical environment, the social/medical environment and individual factors including demographic data, food and exercise beliefs and behaviors, and health outcomes. The coalition inserted local data from surveys and focus groups into the model to identify targets for future interventions, research, and activism. Conclusions: This type of collaboration and the model may be useful tools to help communities identify and address the deficits that prevent their residents from enjoying the health benefits of improved nutrition and increased physical activity, and that also lead to racial and ethnic disparities in health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-21
Number of pages9
JournalMount Sinai Journal of Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • African-American
  • Community
  • Community-based participatory research
  • Diabetes
  • Health disparities
  • Latino
  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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