Northwestern Medicine investigators have received a grant that will support outreach with Latino/Hispanic communities in Chicago to identify and treat patients with lupus.
The program, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, involves a partnership between Northwestern University, the Illinois Public Health Association and non-profit organization Salud Latina/Latino Health.
“Our fieldwork in Chicago’s Pilsen community provided compelling evidence that lupus is a serious disease with devastating consequences for Latinos/Hispanics,” said project director Dr. Rosalind Ramsey-Goldman, faculty member at the Institute for Public Health and Medicine. “Prompt diagnosis and treatment is paramount to preventing early organ damage and death.”
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disorder that disproportionately affects women as well as racial and ethnic minorities.
Dr. Ramsey-Goldman’s team will train leaders in predominantly Latino/Hispanic neighborhoods in Chicago to increase awareness and develop strategies for making sure that those who suffer from lupus get quality, timely care.
The project – dubbed MONARCAS, a reference to the butterfly, which is the symbol of lupus – includes five main objectives: educating residents; interacting with community organizations and health centers to provide referrals and care for patients; collaborating with those organizations to build social networks for patients and families; expanding the model to other groups; and disseminating the model nationally.
“We have also seen adverse outcomes in other rheumatic diseases in this community, and we hope our model can be applied to a broader spectrum of chronic diseases affecting its residents,” Dr. Ramsey-Goldman said.