Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Methodist Diabetes & Metabolism Institute


Denver Harbor, declared a medically underserved community by the Department of Health and Human Services, has an exceedingly high prevalence of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease, which are among the leading causes of death in that community. With support of the Houston Endowment and Cullen Trust for Healthcare, the clinical research arm of MDMI partnered with the Denver Harbor Clinic to address health care disparities in that community through education, clinical care, and research by developing culturally appropriate programs for preventing and managing diabetes, obesity and their complications.

Diabetes Self-Management Education Course This 10-hour course was designed for this Community by the team and follows the American Diabetes Association guidelines for Diabetes Self-management Training and is offered in both Spanish and English. The program offers ongoing instruction on 10 major concept areas for diabetes management including meal planning, medication management, blood sugar and blood pressure goals and monitoring, awareness and prevention of complications, signs of low and high blood glucose, and information on body mass index measurements and obesity, and includes assessment of diabetes knowledge and beliefs of the participants.

Nutrition Education and Weight Management Program is targeted at young (18-40 years of age) Mexican American women to reduce weight, and improve physical activity and nutrition choices. These young women are the caregivers and family focal point of the next generation; yet, current prevention research suggests people in this age group are the hardest to recruit and maintain in lifestyle and other intervention studies. Using extensive focus group analyses and participatory action research as part of our behavioral research approach, we developed a specific lifestyle program for these young Mexican American women that incorporate Houston Methodist Hospital Weight Management Program adapted to their needs and culture.

Seminars and Health Screenings Our team has actively pervaded the Denver Harbor and surrounding communities and have raised awareness of diabetes and obesity among more than 2,500 area residents since 2009. At seminars and health screenings at schools, churches, food banks, and health fairs, the project team highlights simple lifestyle changes that can prevent, reverse, or manage these diseases and refers high-risk patients and their family for education and care.

The presence of the retina camera in the Denver Harbor Clinic and the Padilla Clinic provides an unparalleled opportunity to screen and monitor an underserved population for eye disease that would otherwise have gone undiagnosed. Screening individuals with known diabetes in the clinic will allow us to predict those most at risk for retinopathy. Individuals from the community with diabetes had retinal screening performed with non-mydriatic robotic retina cameras by our staff in association with Dr. Amy Coburn, Ophthalmologist-TMH.

Individuals with diabetes had kidney function screening with estimated glomerular filtration rates calculated in partnership with the Kidney Trust program.

Program Staff:

Kittie Wyne, MD, PhD, FACE, FNLA

Evangelina Villagomez, PhD, APRN, CDE, CS

Patricia Casillas, LVN