Why Mil Familias


Diabetes is a major public health crisis affecting more than 400 million people worldwide.1

Unfortunately, the burden of diabetes is even worse for Latino families – and no one fully understands why.

Latino families of Mexican heritage are facing diabetes at rates twice as high than the national average – 9% (white) vs 18% (Mexican Latino). 2

Latino families also have much higher rates of diabetes-related complications3 and are more likely than non-Latino whites to be hospitalized for uncontrolled diabetes.4

Sansum Diabetes Research Institute has highlighted that the communities facing the highest burden of diabetes are rarely participants in new medical research and innovation.

Thankfully, as technology and research advance, we have an opportunity to reverse the upward trend of diabetes for Latino families. This journey began by asking questions:

Is this excess burden due to a combination of factors beyond biological risk?

How do biology, behavior, and environment – things like pollution, transportation, sleep, and food security – affect disease among Latino families?

How can Latino families themselves engage with healthcare providers and researchers to solve this problem?

Mil Familias is a ten-year initiative led by the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute to answer these questions and many more.

If we can understand the complexities of diabetes among Latino families, we will have unique opportunities for new collaborative ways to improve health and prevent disease for the benefit of everyone living in the Central Coast and beyond.

1. Bommer C, Heesemann E, Sagalova V, Manne-Goehler J, Atun R, Bärnighausen T, Vollmer S. 2017. The Global Economic Burden of Diabetes in Adults Aged 20–79 Years: a Cost-of-Illness Study. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. 5(6):423 – 430.
2. National Center for Health Statistics, Health, United States, 2016: With Chartbook on Long-term Trends in Health. Hyattsville, MD. 2017. CDC https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus16.pdf.
3. Jiang HJ, Andrews R, Stryer, D, Friedman B. 2005. Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Potentially Preventable Readmissions: The Case of Diabetes. American Journal of Public Health. 95(9): 1561-1567. Retrieved 03 June 2017 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1449398/.
4. Mozaffarian D, et al; on behalf of the American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. 2016. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2016 Update: A Report from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 133. Retrieved 03 June 2017 from http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2015/12/16/CIR.0000000000000350.