UTEP Assistant Professor Lands NIH Grant to Study Men’s Diabetes Risk

Jeannie Concha, Ph.D., assistant professor in UTEP’s Department of Public Health Sciences, received a $25,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health – National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), to identify factors related to men’s participation in diabetes prevention and self-care behaviors.

The data will be used to develop diabetes education programs for men and to enhance the services provided by the Diabetes Garage, a diabetes management program Concha designed for men in El Paso.

Concha will lead the study with co-principal investigators Hector Olvera, Ph.D., associate professor and director of research in the School of Nursing, and Robert Kirken, Ph.D., professor and dean of the College of Science.

The project will be in collaboration with UTEP’s Border Biomedical Research Center.

“The goal of the program is to engage men in self-care and recognize them as an influential family component when it comes to health,” said Concha, the study’s principal investigator and a UTEP faculty member since 2016. “Many health programs and research projects do not spend enough time finding novel ways to engage men, and this grant aims to do this by having men tell us how to do so.”

Men will complete a computer-based survey and be assessed for metabolic syndrome, a set of risk factors that increases their chance of developing serious conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

They will have their blood drawn to measure levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, blood glucose and other diabetes risk markers. They also will have their blood pressure, waist circumference, weight and height assessed.

Apart from the study, Concha is recruiting men with diabetes to participate in the Diabetes Garage classes offered at the El Paso Diabetes Association (EPDA), located at 3641 Mattox St.

Created by UTEP in collaboration with the EPDA, Southwest University and University Medical Center, the program offers men a space to engage in diabetes management and self-care by using automotive maintenance and repair analogies.

Classes will be offered from noon to 1:30 p.m. July 21, July 28, August 4, and August 11.  Participants will receive $20, a $10 gas card, a Diabetes Maintenance Manual and Diabetes Essentials Toolbox with a glucose and blood pressure monitor.

To register, call the Diabetes Garage coordinator at 915-843-8964 or the EPDA at 915-532-6280.