Mil Familias Especialistas are bilingual, trusted, trained community health workers who lead data collection and interact directly with families.
Especialistas are crucial to Mil Familias because they are knowledgeable resources whom families can trust. This family-Especialista relationship is key to keeping participants engaged over a long-term period and most importantly, for those families to feel invested in and recognize their contribution to this initiative. The Especialistas are trained extensively in diabetes management, education, local resources, and clinical research methods; however, it is their passion and welcoming personalities that makes Mil Familias an enjoyable experience for everyone.
Mediated by Especialistas, each family member will contribute information about their genetics, biology, behavior, psychology, and environment to create a Living Information (bio)Bank.
Every year for 10 years, more than 100 variables will be measured for each family member, using surveys, physical exams, lab tests, and wearable activity monitors. The results will be used to create a robust database on Latino health and lifestyle, the first of its kind in the United States. All research activities have been approved by ethical Institutional Review Boards and all data is stored and managed securely.
Based on the data, culturally-relevant interventions will be targeted to reverse the upward trend of diabetes for Latino families and the serious complications associated with it.
Interventions may include, but are not limited to education, public health reforms, digital technologies, pharmaceuticals, and novel health care systems. Already, a local Latino Advisory Committee is working closely with the researchers to oversee and guide Mil Familias activities.
Organizations and individuals can support Mil Familias as “allies” by contributing their resources and skillsets.
An “ally” is a like-minded individual, group, or organization who contributes their own resources, capacity, or expertise to the initiative, and in return benefits from the research and services provided by Mil Familias. Our allies each contribute in different, yet mutually-reinforcing ways. The ultimate benefit is the reduced burden of diabetes across our community.