Diabetes Forecast

Native American Leaders Partner With ADA


Diabetes is far too common among Native Americans and Alaska Natives. Their 16 percent rate of diabetes, on an age-adjusted basis, is the highest of all U.S. racial and ethnic groups. American Diabetes Association leaders want to better help this community prevent or manage type 2 diabetes. They have teamed up with the Indian Health Service (IHS) and the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) to collaborate on future projects, events, and outreach to a population that is underserved.

The collaborations began as part of the Association's Community Roundtable Series, meetings that bring ADA officials with backgrounds in advocacy, marketing, and serving high-risk groups together with leaders in community health. At a meeting with the IHS and the NIHB, attendees discussed how best to bring helpful information to American Indians and Alaska Natives—without duplicating one another's efforts. Discussions led to determining how the organizations can work together to "focus on outcomes, not activities" that will ultimately reduce the number of people living with diabetes and to help those who already have diabetes to avoid complications, says Stacy Bohlen, executive director of the NIHB.

Association leaders agreed to provide assistance and information at the NIHB's annual youth conference, held from August 19 to 24 in Traverse City, Mich. (Find more information at nihb.org.) Additional cooperative efforts will begin in November—Native American Heritage Month. The prospect of working together on several long-term projects was exciting to many who attended the meeting. "In my head I hear a child saying, 'I don't have to have diabetes,' " says Lurelean Gaines, MSN, president of health care and education for the ADA. "That's a good feeling."

To learn more about the ADA's Native American programs, visit diabetes.org/nativeamericans.



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