Associate Faculty — Ph.D.
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Dr. Brown is the James R. Dougherty, Jr. Centennial Professor in Nursing. Dr. Brown's work is in the area of health promotion/disease prevention in Mexican Americans with type 2 diabetes. She has had ongoing research since 1992 funded by the the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Dr. Brown currently is funded for an additional 2 years, building on the previous 9 year-study, for the study, "Integrating Education, Group Support, and Case Management for Diabetic Hispanics." The study is funded for $470,000.
Dr. Brown's research interest has centered around type 2 diabetes and ways to promote healthier outcomes. Since becoming aware of the tremendous burden of diabetes in Mexican Americans, her work has shifted to developing and testing culturally sensitive approaches to address this enormous problem, particularly in South Texas. Starr County, the site of the previous and current ongoing studies, is an impoverished Texas-Mexico border community that holds the record for the highest number of diabetes-related deaths of any county in Texas; the county is the poorest in Texas and one of the poorest in the U.S. To date, she has received eight research grants to support investigations of the effectivness of culturally appropriate diabetes materials and strategies for this population. Specific targeted outcomes have been to improve health behaviors, particularly dietary factors and glucose self-monitoring, through education and group support for diabetic adults and their family members. The current project augments the previous successful diabetes self-care management education intervention with nurse case management to enhance individuals’ responses to the previous interventions. Future efforts will focus on primary prevention to demonstrate more convincingly that a culturally competent intervention for Mexican Americans will prevent, or at least delay, the onset of diabetes in minority populations. Additional foci include development of “reinoculation” interventions to see if previous positive health outcomes resulting from participating in diabetes self-management education can be enhanced and sustained and examining genetic profiles to determine their influence on responsiveness to behavioral interventions.