Note to news directors and editors: CSULA Professor
Ming Fang Wang is available for interviews.
She is fluent in English and Chinese, and can be reached directly at
Diabetes research reaches out to vulnerable population
CSULA professor’s study focuses on older diabetic
Americans in Southern California
Los Angeles, CA –
of Americans know they have type 2 diabetes, one of the most chronic and
debilitating diseases. According to the American Diabetes Association,
“Many more are unaware they are at high risk.”
boost awareness, and presumably reduce risk, among elders in the Chinese
community, Ming Fang Wang, an assistant professor of nursing at
Cal State L.A., crafted a research project to engage the
community in developing a clearer understanding of the disease and how
“Elder Chinese,” Wang said, “are of particular interest because of
limited research data, their vulnerability, and the increasing
prevalence of diabetes among Chinese Americans.”
Wang’s community-based participatory research, entitled “Self-Care
Practices, Health Beliefs, and Attitudes of Older Diabetic Chinese
Americans,” was recently selected as a Blue Ribbon Award
semi-finalist by the CSU Center for Community Engagement. The
research project was presented in March at the 4th CSU Conference on
Community-Based Research. The forum explored how campuses and
communities can collaborate to address significant social issues,
promote learning and development, and foster relevant research.
According to Wang, community feedback has shown that this pilot study
increased the awareness of and interests in diabetes research among
elder Chinese Americans in the two participating communities, Sunny Day
Adult Health Care in El Monte and Joyful Adult Day Health Care Center in
“This suggests that minority vulnerable populations, such as elder
Chinese Americans, are interested and willing to participate in health
studies. They should be offered such opportunities,” said Wang.
The study explored self-care practices, lifestyles, attitudes, and
health beliefs of Chinese Americans with type 2 diabetes. Wang adds that
the results will be used to develop education programs to help elderly
Chinese manage their type 2 diabetes. The research findings were first
published in the December 2009 edition (vol. 32, no. 3) of the
Journal of Health and Human Services Administration.
Wang, along with Nursing Associate Professor Gail Washington, are
preparing to share their strategies with other researchers. CSULA
nursing undergraduate students—Suirong Li and Jan Cheung—also
contributed to the original research project, assisting with interviews,
transcriptions, translations and dissemination.
With more than 35 years combined teaching and professional nursing
experience, Wang has extensive clinical experience in the areas of
medical-surgical and critical care, as well as nursing administration.
At Cal State L.A., she teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses,
including nursing education, nursing leadership and management,
medical-surgical nursing, pathophysiology, and physical assessment. For
the last two years, she has also participated in a pilot project
examining cultural health beliefs and their related effects on the
health behaviors of Chinese, Korean and Hispanic breast-cancer
What is type 2 diabetes?
In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or
the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be
able to use glucose for energy. When you eat food, the body breaks down
all of the sugars and starches into glucose, which is the basic fuel for
the cells in the body. Insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the
cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells,
it can lead to diabetes complications. (source: American Diabetes
What is community-based research (CBR)?
CBR is a collaborative approach to research that equitably involves all
partners throughout the research process and recognizes the unique
strengths that each brings. CBR begins with a research topic deemed
important by the community, has the aim of combining knowledge with
action and achieving social change.... (Adapted from the WK Kellogg
Foundation Community Health Scholars Program)
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