Videonovela for Hispanics on managing diabetes uses family drama to educate patients and families

Research Activities, October 2012, No. 386

Does Don Felipe have more to worry about than his diabetes? Maybe so, when a handsome stranger appears at the door with flowers for his wife.

Drama and diabetes go together in a three-part videonovela series produced and distributed by AHRQ especially for a Spanish-speaking audience. "Aprende a vivir" tells the story of Felipe, who has type 2 diabetes, and how he has problems learning to manage his disease. Just like a soap opera, each episode ends with a cliffhanger. But unlike a daytime drama, the videonovela does more than amuse viewers. Felipe and his family learn instructions for type 2 diabetes patients regarding medication adherence, diet, and exercise during each 5- to 7-minute episode.

Since the first episode was released in April 2012, "Aprende a vivir" has been featured in both English and Spanish speaking media outlets, including Telemundo Television's facebook page; V-me, a PBS Hispanic television network; Good Morning America, USA Today, the Los Angeles Daily News, and many others. In addition, the Boricua Senior Center in the Bronx, NY, will be recreating the episodes as a play, employing seniors as the characters.

"Aprende a vivir is an entertaining way to model and reinforce healthy behaviors without lecturing," said Ileana Ponce-Gonzalez, M.D., AHRQ's Spanish-language spokesperson. "The videonovela as an educational tool is beneficial for individual consumers, patients, clinicians, promotores de salud, educators, and advocates to improve the quality of care and patient safety of people living with diabetes."

To view all three episodes in Spanish or with English subtitles, go to

To order a free DVD with free health education brochures for your waiting area or health education presentations, contact Bob Isquith at


Current as of October 2012
Internet Citation: Videonovela for Hispanics on managing diabetes uses family drama to educate patients and families: Research Activities, October 2012, No. 386. October 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.