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ODU Ph.D. Graduate Authors Study on Mexican Americans with Diabetes

Holly Beard, who received a Ph.D. in Health Services Research in 2007 from the College of Health Sciences at Old Dominion University, is the lead author of a new study focusing on Mexican Americans with diabetes, and the work is getting attention internationally in the popular media.

The study found that the percentage of Mexican Americans with type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity, has nearly doubled since 1993. The research was done at the University of Texas Medical Branch Sealy Center on Aging in Galveston, where Beard has served as a post-doctoral fellow.

Furthermore, the research revealed that the rate of diabetes-related complications - which has declined among all people with diabetes in the United Sates - has not dropped among Mexican Americans 75 and older.

Beard's research was published in the journal Diabetes Care in December and later was given news coverage by media such as Reuters news service.

"In light of the high prevalence of diabetes in this (75 and older) group, no improvement in diabetes-related complications heightens the urgency for public health interventions," Beard and colleagues wrote in the Diabetes Care article.

A paper that Beard co-authored received honorable mention in the 2009 James Zimmer New Investigator Research Award competition of the American Public Health Association. The title of that research is "Role of Subjective Social Status in the Social Gradients in Health Among Older Adults in Mexico."

At ODU, her mentor was James Alan Neff, professor in the College of Health Science's School of Community and Environmental Health.

This article was posted on: January 22, 2010

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