Understanding how diseases affect people with diabetes may allow communities to discover and implement solutions to help them

Authors: David Perez and Miguel Lucero
Press Release:
December 2020

NORTHRIDGE, CA (December 2, 2020) – California State University Northridge’s Autonomy Research Center for STEAHM (ARCS) has partnered with Medtronic, one of the largest medical technology companies in the world providing products that treat 70 health conditions and include cardiac devices, cranial and spine robotics, insulin pumps, and more to conduct the Convergence Research and Development of Holistic Social-Technological Solutions for Co-Occurrences of Diabetes project.

The Medtronic and ARCS research project will bring multiple disciplines together from the departments within Social and Behavioral Sciences, Engineering and Computer Science, and Health and Human Development to work towards understanding how other diseases along with diabetes complicate the lives and well-being of individuals in at risk communities. CSUN students will conduct clinic visits, focus groups, surveys and interviews to understand how social, economic and demographic characteristics contribute to diabetes and its comorbidities.

“Partnering up with Medtronic is a big step in the right direction. An even greater step would be to understand the effects that other diseases may have on the health of a person living with diabetes,” said Director of ARCS and Professor of Engineering at CSUN, Dr. Nhut Ho. “Bringing multiple disciplines together is the prime mission of ARCS and doing this to help our communities is what we are all about.”

Once the study is complete, the CSUN research results will be presented to Medtronic. ARCS will then be able to move on to the next phase of the project, developing solutions for the communities based on social, cultural, spatial, and medical environments.

“This is an important partnership between our outstanding programs and Medtronic to address the needs of our local community,” said Mary Beth Walker, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at CSUN. She continues, “Our students will gain leadership experience and research skills as they work to build solutions in the health and wellness space. These are excellent opportunities for our students who are committed to improving our communities.”

Currently, treatments are considered independently from each other. As students and professors work together within the communities, understanding how these comorbidities along with diabetes influence and drive each other and affect underserved patients will be a breakthrough for social medicine. The disease co-occurrences complicate lives, due to the need to seek separate specialists and therapists, with no single specialist is available to look across diseases. Morbidity is expected to increase as the number of co-occurrences increases.

“As part of our long-standing collaborative research relationship with California State University Northridge, Medtronic hopes to learn more about how diabetes comorbidities influence and drive health outcomes by exploring complex physiologic and social interactions,” said Rebecca Gottlieb, vice president of research and technology for the Diabetes Business at Medtronic.

“ARCS provides a unique framework that incorporates multidisciplinary talent brought together to solve complex societal issues. This team comes together from the sciences, cultural studies and social studies and other disciplines to create solutions to contemporary problems. Our aim in this endeavor is to promote improvements in personal well-being related to diabetes and its myriad of complicating factors. Our methodology includes a blend of holistic and technological elements that will lead to improvements in the quality of life for these affected individuals.” Dr. Kabo, the project Co-lead says.

ARCS has developed multiple research projects ranging from space exploration to sustainability and holistic medicine. Collaborators for this project include California State University, Northridge, ARCS, NASA, Medtronic.

For more information visit https://arcs.center/.