The Diabetes in Men's Health Research Lab in partnership with the University of Michigan School of Social Work is committed to understanding how to improve access to men's health and health management through intersectional research focusing on gender, race, and ethnicity. The research produced by the lab will assist in developing treatment modalities and community interventions. The DīMH Lab's main target population is Black men with Type 2 diabetes (T2D), specifically Black men living in Southeast Michigan.
Why Black men?
According to the CDC's National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020, men in the U.S have a higher incidence of type 2 diabetes (diabetes) than women. Further, the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes is also 1.3 times higher among non-Hispanic Black men and two times higher among Hispanic men than non-Hispanic white men. A growing body of literature demonstrates the critical role of gender in the management of health behaviors such as diabetes and shows that male gender norms can conflict with healthy behaviors. Cultural expectations for male self-reliance can negatively affect help-seeking from health professionals, and societal beliefs that men should display autonomy, dominance and cope independently with pain or discomfort, can create barriers to asking for help from family members to support health behavior change, or following health advice given by medical professionals.
Dominant sociocultural perspectives of masculine beliefs and values have been developed specifically for Latino and Black men and have key implications for health. Men of color share similar aspects of mainstream male gender beliefs and values. However, they occupy different social spaces, and the interplay between race, class, culture, and other factors significantly affects the way masculinity manifests itself among Black men. The DīMH Lab's primary mission is to take into account these specific social and cultural contexts with a focus on barriers and facilitators for Black men in managing their Type 2 diabetes in order to adapt and implement culturally tailored approaches to promote and sustain diabetes self-management.
In 2016, one in 10 Michigan adults 18 years and older were diagnosed with diabetes – 870,000 people. The age-adjusted diabetes prevalence (percentage) estimate among Michigan adults was comparable between 9.2% in 2011 and 9.8% in 2016, with no evidence of change over time. In the United States, the diabetes prevalence median was 8.9% in 2011 and 9.5% in 2016. Michigan ranked the 20th highest state in the country in diabetes prevalence among adults 18 years and older in 2016. In 2016, diabetes was ranked the seventh leading cause of death in Michigan. Males had a higher prevalence compared to that of females and, the prevalence among non-Hispanic Black adults was 1.4 times the prevalence among non-Hispanic White adults . 14.1% of the Michiganders live in poverty, most of them from the black community and residing in South-east Michigan . Counties in Michigan with the oldest populations also have some of the highest rates of diabetes. The CDC states that persons with diabetes are more susceptible to COVID-19 related health complications. Housing in the University of Michigan School of Social Work in Southeast Michigan, DīMH Lab, sets it as its primary goal to develop Type 2 diabetes management plans with regard to the specific socioeconomic environment of this geographic domain.
 Michigan Department of Health and Human Service. Diabetes in Michigan Update report. IndexMundi, country facts, Michigan report