Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to major health complications and early death and is a driver for increasing healthcare costs. While existing treatments are effective at controlling the disease, people of color have higher rates of uncontrolled diabetes and worse outcomes. These health disparities may exist due to structural and systemic racial inequalities that result in unmet “social” needs—such as secure and healthy housing, regular and convenient transportation, and consistent access to healthy food—that have an impact on health outcomes.
In research published online on January 19 in the Journal of Primary Care & Community Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System researchers, led by Earle Chambers, Ph.D., M.P.H., reported on the social needs most associated with uncontrolled diabetes among nearly 6,000 Montefiore patients. Twenty-two percent had at least one unmet social need: the most prevalent were housing issues (including poor housing quality and housing insecurity), food insecurity, and lack of healthcare transportation. The researchers argue that healthcare systems are in a unique position to screen and address their patients’ social needs in order to improve their health.
Dr. Chambers is director and associate professor of the division of research in the department of family and social medicine at Einstein and Montefiore, as well as core director of population health and health systems for the New York Regional Center for Diabetes Translation Research at Einstein.
Posted on: Thursday, March 11, 2021