Associate Professor
DHCC #10211
2775 Laurel Street, 10th FLoor
Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z 1M9
Research Interests:
  • Diabetes translational research in high risk and medically underserved communities
  • Peer support models to improve long-term diabetes management
  • Diabetes distress in adults with type 1 diabetes
  • Culturally innovative models for promoting physical activity in ethnic minority children



Research Summary:

Dr. Tricia Tang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine. She is also a behavioral scientist and registered clinical psychologist with an expertise in diabetes translation research in high-risk and medically underserved populations. Over the past 18 years, she has focused on developing, implementing, and evaluating low-cost and sustainable peer support interventions for improving long-term diabetes-related health outcomes. These interventions have been tested in ethnically diverse groups including African-American, Spanish-speaking Latino (Detroit, MI), and Punjabi-speaking South Asian adults with type 2 diabetes (Vancouver, BC) living in North America and have been translated across different contexts including community-based, primary care-based, specialty care-based, and faith-based settings. Her work in peer leader training is nationally and internationally recognized as she co-developed a peer leader training manual that has been endorsed by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and is available for download on their website. She has conducted peer leader training workshops and given presentations all over the world including the United States, China, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Hungary, and India. She have also received grants from the IDF, American Association of Family Physicians Foundation, VGH-UBC Hospital Foundation, Vancouver Foundation, Diabetes Canada, Lawson Foundation, Michael Smith Foundation, Sun-Life Financial, and the National Institutes of Health to test the effectiveness of these peer support models. Her Diabetes Canada-funded peer support study was featured in the 2014 publication, Diabetes Discovery – on the “timeline of diabetes research milestones” in Canada. Recently, Dr. Tang’s research has expanded to diabetes prevention in South Asian children and families reducing diabetes distress in the type 1 diabetes community using a social media-delivered intervention. Currently, she is investigating the impact of an after-school Bhangra intervention on improving physical activity and fitness in South Asian children ages 8-11 and promoting healthy approaches to cooking with South Asian children and their parents.

Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA Psychology, 1994, A.B.
University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, USA Clinical Psychology, 1999, PhD
Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA Post-doctoral fellowship, 2000
Recent Publications:
  • Tang TS, Afshar R, Elliott T, Kong J, Gill S. From clinic to community: Using peer support as a transition model for improving long-term diabetes-related health outcomes. Contemporary Clinical Trials (in press)
  • Polonsky W, Stuckey H, Sturt J, Snoek F, Fisher L, Hessler Jones D, Ivanova J, Hermanns N, Tang TS, Mundet X, Okazaki K, Cao D, Desai U, Hadjiyianni I, Perez M, Silva ME. Identifying Solutions to Psychological Insulin Resistance: An International Study. Diabetes and its Complications (in press)
  • Spencer M, Kieffer E, Sinco B, Hawkins J, Lebron A, Palmisano G, Espitia N, Tang TS, Funnell MM, Heisler M. 12- and 18- month clinical and psychosocial outcomes from a community health worker and peer leader diabetes self-management program for Latino adults with diabetes: A randomized controlled effectiveness trial. Diabetes Care (in press)
  • Mahmood B, Afshar R, Tang TS. Recruitment and Retention of South Asian ethnic minority in behavioral interventions to improve type 2 diabetes outcomes. Current Diabetes Report 2017: 17(4): 25.
  • Kowitt S, Ayala G, Cherrington A, Horton L, Safford M, Soto S, Tang TS, Fisher E. Examining the support peer supporters provide using structural equation modeling: Nondirective and directive support in diabetes management. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 2017: 51(6): 810-821.
  • Wong EM, Afshar R, Qian H, Zhang M, Elliott TG, Tang TS. Diabetes distress, depression and glycemic control in a Canadian-based specialty care setting. Canadian Journal of Diabetes 2017. 41:362-365.
  • Li D, Elliott T, Klein G, Ur E, Tang TS. Diabetes nurse case management in a Canadian tertiary care setting: Results of a randomized controlled trial. Canadian Journal of Diabetes 2017: 41(3):297-304.
  • Fisher L, Tang TS, Polonsky W. Assessing quality of life in diabetes: I A practice guide to selecting the best instruments and using them wisely Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. 2017; 126: 278-285.
  • Kandola K, Sandhu S, Tang TS. Immigration and dietary patterns in South Asian Canadians at risk for diabetes. Journal of Diabetes and its complications 2016: 30(8);1462-1466.
  • Sidhu R, Tang TS. Diabetes distress and depression in South Asian Canadians with type 2 diabetes. Can J Diabetes 2017: 41: 69-72.
  • Sandhu S, Tang TS. When’s dinner? Does timing of dinner affect the cardiometabolic risk profiles of South Asian Canadians at risk for diabetes? Diabetic Medicine 2017: 34;539-542.
  • Tang TS, Funnell MM, Sinco B, Spencer MS, Heisler M. Peer-led, empowerment-based, approach to self-management efforts in diabetes (PLEASED): A randomized controlled trial in the African-American community. Annals of Family Medicine 2015; 13 Suppl 1: S27-35.
  • Tang TS, Garg AK, Sohal P. Rethinking peer support for diabetes in Vancouver’s South Asian community: A feasibility study. Diabetic Medicine 2015;32: 1077-1084. (FA, IF: 3.12).
  • Tang TS, Funnell MM, Sinco GP, Piatt G, Palmisano G, Spencer MS, Kieffer ED, Heisler M. Comparative effectiveness of peer leaders and community health workers in diabetes self-management support: Results of a randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Care 2014; 37:1525-34. (FA, IF: 8.42).
  • Tang TS, Nwankwo R, Whiten Y, Oney C. Outcomes of a church-based diabetes prevention program delivered by peers: A feasibility study. The Diabetes Educator 2014; 40:223-230. (FA, IF: 1.92)
  • Boyd EA, Gutierrez JR, Fink RJ, Eaman E, Tang TS. Cultural competency training in undergraduate medical education: strategies for including lesbian, gay, and bisexual health concerns. Annals of Behavioral Science and Medical Education 12:65-71, 2006.
  • Tang TS, Funnell MM, Anderson RM. Group education strategies for diabetes self-management.  Diabetes Spectrum 19:99-105, 2006.
  • Bole A, Tang TS. Narrative Medicine: The case for a curriculum in medical education. Annals of Behavioral Science and Medical Education 13:10-15, 2007.
  • Funnell MM, Tang TS, Anderson RM. From DSME to DSMS: Developing empowerment-based diabetes self-management support. Diabetes Spectrum 20:221-226, 2007.
  • Tang TS, White CB, Haftel HM, Poszywak KK, Bozynski MA. Evaluating medical students’ cross-cultural communication skills. Annals of Behavioral Science and Medical Education 13:73-77, 2007.
  • Fitzgerald JT, Stansfield RB, Tang TS, Oh MF, Frohna AZ, Armbruster BA, Gruppen LD, Anderson RM. Patient and provider perceptions of diabetes: measuring and evaluating differences. Patient Education and Counseling 70:118-125, 2008.
  • Li DL, Gao Y, Mullan P, Tang TS, Gruppen L. Optional double major program will broaden medical students’ knowledge base.  Chinese Journal of Medical Education 2008;28: 35-40.
  • Ramirez D, Engel KG, Tang TS. Language interpreter utilization in the emergency department setting: a clinical review.  Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved 19:352-361, 2008.
  • Roy B, Tang TS. Beliefs and predictors of cervical cancer screening among women attending a women’s health clinic in Kolkata, India. Journal of Cancer Education 2008;23: 23-9.
  • Tang TS, Brown MB, Funnell MM, Anderson RM. Social support, quality of life, and self-care behaviors among African Americans with type 2 diabetes. The Diabetes Educator 34:266-276, 2008.
  • Tang TS, Fitzgerald JT, Stansfield B, Oh M, Anderson RM. Patient-provider perceptions of diabetes and its impact on self-management: a comparison of African-American and Caucasian patients. Diabetic Medicine 25:341-8, 2008.
  • Anderson RM, Funnell MM, Fitzgerald JT, Oh M, Aikens J, Tang TS. Evaluating the efficacy of an empowerment-based self-management consultant intervention : results of a two-year randomized controlled trial. Therapeutic Patient Education 2009;1: 3-11.
  • Tang TS, Patterson S, Roubidoux M, Duan L. Women’s mammography experience and its impact  on screening adherence.  Psycho-oncology 2009;18: 727-34.
  • Tang TS, Skye E. When patients decline medical student participation. The preceptors’ perspective.  Advances in Health Sciences Education 2009; 14:645-9.
  • Tang TS, Skye E. Who gets “kicked out” of the exam room?  Factors associated with patient refusal of medical student participation. Teaching and Learning in Medicine 2009;21: 1-7.
  • Tang TS, Skye E.I. Increasing patients’ acceptance of medical student participation: using interactive theatre for faculty development. Teaching and Learning in Medicine 2009;21: 195-200.
  • Attar MA, Hernandez ME, Mullan PB, Tang TS, Haftel H. Pediatric Residents’ Competency in communicating bad news and eliciting spiritual needs: Development and evaluation of a skill-based curriculum.  Journal of Neonatal and Perinatal Medicine 2010;3:177-85.
  • Tang TS, Funnell MM, Brown MBB, Kurlander JE. Supporting ongoing self-management in “real world” settings: An empowerment-based intervention. Patient Education and Counseling 2010;79:178-84.
  • Tang TS, Funnell MM, Gillard M, Nwankwo N, Heisler, M. The development of a pilot training program for peer leaders in diabetes: Process and content. Diabetes Educator (in press).
  • Tang TS, Ayala GX, Cherrington A, Rana G. A review of volunteer-based peer support interventions in diabetes. Diabetes Spectrum 2011;24:85-98.
  • Tang TS, Funnell MM, Gillard M, Nwankwo R, Heisler, M. Training peers to provide ongoing diabetes self-management support (DSMS): Results from a pilot study. Patient Education and Counseling 2011;85:160-8.
  • Tang TS, Funnell MM, Gillard ML, Nwankwo R, Heisler M. The development of a pilot training program for peer leaders in diabetes. The Diabetes Educator 2011; 37:67-77.
  • Tang TS, Funnell MM, Noorulla S, Oh M, Brown MB. Sustaining short-term improvements over the long-term: Results from a 2-year diabetes self-management support (DSMS) intervention. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice 2011;95:85-92.
Awards & Recognition:
  • Distinguished Fellow, Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research (OBSSR), National Institutes of Health, The Ninth Annual Summer Institute on Randomized Clinical Trials Involving Behavioral Interventions. July 12-24, 2009
  • William N. Hubbard, Jr., Endowed Fellowship (Annual award), University of Michigan, 2003
  • William N. Hubbard, Jr., Endowed Fellowship (Annual award), University of Michigan, 2002
  • Jeffrey Tanaka Memorial Dissertation Award – Honorable Mention Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs, Association of Women in Psychology, 1999
  • Women of Color Psychology Award, Association of Women in Psychology, 1997
  • Graduate Research Scholarship Nominee, American Psychological Foundation, 1997
  • Dean’s List, Duke University, 1992-1994

Selected Grants

  • 2018 Tang TS (PI). Reducing diabetes distress in the type 1 community: A peer-delivered intervention using an interactive social media platform. Michael Smith Foundation Health Research. ($9,800)
  • 2018-2019 Tang TS (Co-PI). Improving self-management and reducing distress in diabetes: Integrating Community Health Worker Models in the Primary Care Setting. VCHRI. ($8,600)
  • 2018-2019 Tang TS (PI). Project Bhangra: Drawing on cultural traditions to build lifelong exercise habits among South Asian Children ages 8-11. Lawson Foundation. ($255,000)
  • 2014-2019 Tang TS (PI). From clinic to community: Using peer support to improve long-term diabetes-related health outcomes. ($277,736)
  • 2015-Present – Primary supervisor for Rowshanak Afshar (PhD) in Experimental Medicine
  • 2016-Present – Primary supervisor for Bushra Mahmood (PhD) in Experimental Medicine
  • 2017-Present – Primary supervisor for Rehan Jessa (MSc) in Experimental Medicine
  • 2018-Present – Co-Primary supervisor for Kiana Yau (MSc) in Experimental Medicine
  • 2016-Present – Co-Primary supervisor for Joseph Leung (Postgraduate) in Clinical Investigators Program
  • 2018-Present – Primary supervisor for Natalie Choy (Postgraduate) in Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI) team grant