Latino Diabetes Citizen Scientists

At present, U.S. Hispanic/Latino adults have a greater burden of diabetes and associated complications compared to the background population. The reasons for this disproportionate impact are not clear but are likely to be influenced by challenges related to access to care, low rates of research participation, social determinants of health, and low health literacy. To address these diabetes disparities and democratize related knowledge, the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute proposes a novel strategy alongside its partners.

Specifically, they aim to equip Latino Citizen Scientists with the knowledge and skills that enable them to implement research instruments and deploy state-of-the-art wearable technologies that collect real-world data on factors (such as blood glucose levels, physical activity, sleep, etc.) related to the risk of progression of type 2 diabetes (T2D) with the emphasis on social determinants of health. With guidance, these same Citizen Scientists will then interpret the collected data and relay pertinent findings in an accessible way to participants, peers and the Latino community across the nation. Subsequently this approach will guide interventions to reduce the disproportionate burden of T2D being faced by this population.

2020 will mark the start of our partnership, piloting this project in Santa Barbara County (SA). This pilot will allow us to refine methods, develop materials and establish the the feasibility of scaling the model to other populations and disease states around the world.


  • Add new modules and e-learning content to the existing Mil Familias curriculum. In 2018, the Mil Familias pilot involved 107 Latino adult with type 2, who proved key in establishing a unique big data set covering all 5 determinants of health (genetics, biology, psychology, behavior, and environment) to facilitate future interventions to reduce the current disproportionate impact that diabetes has on this population. The second phase, Mil Familias Cohort Establishment program, aims to recruit 1000 local Hispanic/Latino families living with T2D.
  • Train Citizen Scientists to administer research instruments and deploy wearable devices as well as to interpret the results
  • Validate among 50 adults with T2D using wearable devices and questionnaires to capture data covering the 5 determinants of health, including prospective data related to glucose, activity and sleep
  • Interpret data and publish it for free on, taking into consideration health literacy and cultural context


About the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute 

The Sansum Diabetes Research Institute was founded in 1944 by Dr. William D. Sansum, the first physician in the U.S. to both produce and administer life-saving insulin. Today the Institute is a world leader in research and innovation, education and care for adults and children living with all forms of diabetes. Current areas of focus are: type 2 diabetes in minorities ( and (, digital health, artificial pancreas development, diabetes in pregnancy, and diabetes and exercise (