Reducing Diabetes Health Disparities Leveraging Social Network Analysis

May 2023 Council

Lead Division/Office


Point(s) of Contact

Xujing Wang

Executive Summary

Social factors are among the major root causes of diabetes epidemic and associated health disparities. At the level of individuals, social disadvantages affect biology and increase one’s risk for developing diabetes. At population level, social structures impact the efficacy of diabetes prevention, care, and management, resulting in disparities in translation no matter how effective our medical and treatment protocols are for individuals. Reducing diabetes health disparities, given the complexities, is extremely challenging. This initiative aims to foster multidisciplinary team science to accelerate innovation and incorporate Social Network Analysis (SNA) and Social Network Interventions (SNI), which have shown promise in tackling the social component of health, disease, and health disparities, but are currently underutilized in diabetes. It proposes to establish a new Diabetes Social Health Innovation Center that will be responsible for (1) setting up standards, methods, tools, and best ethical practices; and (2) disseminating pilot funds to existing diabetes clinical studies to collect data, investigate the role social networks in diabetes health disparities, and investigate new paradigms of social intervention. Its overall objective will be to identify SNI strategies that will be effective at reducing disparities by improving the reach, uptake, and sustainment of our current interventions in populations facing disparities.