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NMSU professor awarded grant to study diabetes and hypertension in Hispanic men

New Mexico State University School of Nursing Assistant Professor John Scarbrough is the lead investigator on a Mountain West Clinical Translational Research Infrastructure Network (CTR-IN) project to study diabetes and hypertension in Hispanic men.


New Mexico State University graduate students Priyanka Lingutla, right, and Mario Gutierrez, left, demonstrate a screening for a study on diabetes and hypertens
New Mexico State University graduate students Priyanka Lingutla, right, and Mario Gutierrez, left, demonstrate a screening for a study on diabetes and hypertension in Hispanic men. NMSU School of Nursing Assistant Professor John Scarbrough is the lead investigator on the project. (NMSU photo by Tiffany Acosta)

The $74,000 grant is funded from the National Institutes of Health through the Mountain West Research Consortium. Scarbrough will be working with co-investigator Joe Tomaka, associate dean for research, on the project, ?Screening and Brief Intervention for Diabetes and Hypertension among Hispanic Men.?

Scarbrough said he was inspired to research this topic after a trip to the hardware store.

?I wondered if any of these guys in here had ever been screened for hypertension or diabetes,? he said. ?Both are huge problems in the area, but these guys are busy at work and I doubt that any of them have been to see a physician in years.?

Along the U.S.-Mexico border, substantial differences exist in the occurrence, diagnosis and treatment of diabetes and hypertension in the Hispanic population, particularly in men. Screening at-risk individuals is the first step to minimize the possible serious consequences related to the chronic diseases.

?Both conditions are highly treatable,? Scarbrough said. ?Anything that could be done to foster early detection and intervention ultimately could result in fewer amputations and hemodialysis patients.?

Traditionally, Hispanic men have little concern about their personal health and believe that ?If I feel healthy, I am healthy,? which is a key barrier to early disease identification and effective treatment.

The project will include innovative efforts to incorporate screening in convenient locations for Hispanic men, ages 18 to 50, such as hardware stores, supply stores and commercial nurseries. The screenings will increase the identification of and follow-up care for men with diabetes and/or hypertension.

Scarbrough said he believes that challenging dysfunctional beliefs and increasing communication with family members are keys to effective health intervention in Hispanic men suffering from diabetes and/or hypertension.