Evaluating a Culturally and Linguistically Competent Health Coach Intervention for Chinese-American Patients With Diabetes

  1. Alan Hubbard, PhD
  1. Address correspondence to Susan L. Ivey, MD, MHSA, University of California Berkeley, School of Public Health, Health Research for Action, 2140 Shattuck Avenue, 10th floor, Berkeley, CA 94704-1210.



Background. Type 2 diabetes is a growing concern among medically underserved Chinese Americans. However, very few interventions have been developed or adapted for Chinese Americans with diabetes.

Objective. To use a participatory research approach to evaluate the effectiveness of a culturally tailored, linguistically appropriate model for diabetes care employing health coaches to improve A1C levels among Chinese-American patients in a federally qualified health center setting.

Methods. We compared change in A1C between intervention participants (n = 46), who received a health coaching intervention, and control participants (n = 46), who received usual care over a period of ~ 6 months.

Results. Intervention participants showed a decrease in mean A1C at follow-up (−0.40%) compared to control subjects (+0.04%), although this difference was not statistically significant. At the 6-month follow-up, a significantly higher percentage of intervention participants (45.7%) had well-controlled A1C levels compared to control subjects (23.9%) (P = 0.048).

Conclusions. It is feasible to implement a culturally tailored, linguistically appropriate teamlet model of care for Chinese Americans with type 2 diabetes. Such a model may be helpful in reducing A1C levels. Given trends in A1C improvement during a 6-month pilot, future randomized trials with a larger sample capable of providing adequate statistical power to detect improvements are warranted.

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