Researchers are seeking families to participate in the Type 1 diabetes empowerment and management (TEAM) study led by Dr. Ashley Butler, behavioral scientist and assistant professor at Texas Children’s Hospital/ Baylor College of Medicine. The goal of this study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is to create and test the effectiveness of delivering a family program among African-American/Black and Hispanic/Latino parents of school-aged children (5-9 years) with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Researchers believe the intervention – Family Teamwork-Peer Delivery (FT-P) – has the potential to promote positive diabetes management.

Strong shared involvement between parents and children is essential to manage diabetes and keep the blood glucose levels under control in children with T1D, and to prevent poor health outcomes later in life. However, few studies on T1D have focused on African American/Black or Hispanic/Latino families and this is important to ensure that program strategies work well for them. To bridge this knowledge gap, Butler initiated this study to not only identify families’ strengths and challenges in day-to-day diabetes management but to develop and test a community-based program that will address those strengths and challenges , with the eventual goal of  promoting positive health outcomes among African American/Black and Hispanic/Latino children with T1D.

As a first step toward that goal, Butler and her multidisciplinary team of psychologists, pediatricians and endocrinologists, employed several strategies (e.g. organizing community outreach events, conducting individual interviews) to engage with African American Black and Hispanic/Latino families, to understand their strengths and day-to-day challenges. This helped the researchers identify different types of support, services and community resources that can help families manage and care for children with T1D. In addition, the researchers also consulted with a parent advisory board, comprised of African-American and Hispanic parents of T1D children and public health department officials, to develop and refine the FT-P program.

“Having a child with T1D whose blood glucose levels fluctuates frequently is a scary situation for most parents, families and caregivers. This often creates significant stress and anxiety for parents, caregivers and for the child experiencing the condition, which can lead to conflicts and disruption of the overall family atmosphere. While parents need to be involved in the management of their child’s diabetes, it is equally important that they are not overly involved in a negative way. This is a delicate balance and often hard for parents to maintain. Our goal is to equip them with strategies on how to communicate more effectively with their children about diabetes in an age-appropriate manner. We also want to provide them with practical tips on how to prepare their children to gradually take responsibility for some aspects of the complicated task of diabetes management as they transition to adolescence. Additionally, some parents are overburdened, in which case, we provide them with resources and tips to make their daily life easier. Other parents may need help and advice on how to advocate for their T1D child’s needs at school or community activities. We have designed our intervention to address all kinds of issues that can impact a parent or caregiver’s ability to provide optimal care children,” Butler said.

The researchers are currently enrolling patients to pilot test the feasibility, and preliminary outcomes of this intervention.

The intervention is designed to be a group discussion in which five to seven families will participate together over a course of six sessions. The sessions will be led by a behavioral health provider and a parent peer (an experienced parent of a child with T1D). During the session, families will receive educational materials, as well as participate in group activities that will address the day-to-day challenges and strengths, communication within their families, schools or communities around diabetes and receive support and information from group leaders and parents. They will also set goals toward behavioral and lifestyle changes they would like to make. The parent peer will be in contact with the families between each session to provide follow-up support.

The study will occur in the diverse city of Houston, where approximately 30% of children with T1D diabetes are African American/Black or Hispanic/Latino. The study will include families who fit the following criteria:

1) Primary caregiver of a child with T1D, who identifies as African-American/Black or Hispanic/Latino

2) Primary caregiver of a child (between 5-9 years old) with T1D

If you are interested in participating in this study or would like more information, you can call 832-429-8776 or email teamstudy@texaschildrens.org.

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Thursday, August 29, 2019