Diabetes Forecast

The Healthy Living Magazine

John Pipe Voices for Change Awards

Recognizing leadership, innovation, and improved health outcomes in American Indian and Alaska Native communities

John Kuczala/Getty Images (award)

John Pipe, a member of the Assiniboine Sioux tribe from Wolf Point, Montana, is remembered for his advocacy in bringing diabetes awareness and education to American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Important awards that bear his name honor people and organizations that continue his legacy.

Each year, grant recipients in the federal Special Diabetes Program for Indians are eligible to win one of the John Pipe Voices for Change Awards. The awards are given by the American Diabetes Association’s Awakening the Spirit subcommittee to recognize organizations and individuals who provide community-based diabetes education and advocacy efforts that improve health outcomes.

Congratulations to the 2015 award recipients!

Leadership Excellence

Whirling Thunder Wellness Program   
Winnebago, Nebraska

The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska’s Special Diabetes Program for Indians has received the John Pipe Leadership Excellence Award for its Whirling Thunder Wellness Program. The program is offered to young people in third through sixth grade at Winnebago Public and St. Augustine schools who have a body mass index (BMI) in the 85th percentile or greater. There is a high prevalence of overweight and obesity in this age range, affecting 57 percent of this population as of 2014. The program focuses on the positive: At this age, students are able to participate in learning and make conscious efforts to embrace positive and healthy habits. Using a targeted approach, the Whirling Thunder Wellness Program focuses on best practices in education and behavior change related to physical activity, nutrition, and youth-specific type 2 diabetes prevention and treatment.

Outcomes Achievement

Chickasaw Nation Diabetes Care Center  
Ada, Oklahoma

The Chickasaw Nation Diabetes Care Center’s Health Choices program has received the John Pipe Outcomes Achievement Award. The Diabetes Care Center is located at the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center in Ada, Oklahoma, and is funded by the Special Diabetes Program for Indians community-directed grant. Health Choices is a diabetes self-management education program hosted by a multidisciplinary health care team. People who attend the program obtain diabetes education and annual screenings all in the same day and in one location—a one-stop shop for diabetes care. Education can empower people to take control of their diabetes, as evidenced by the A1C (a measure of blood glucose control) improvements seen in participants.

Innovative Program Award

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Advanced Diabetes Program  
Anchorage, Alaska

The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s Advanced Diabetes Program has received the John Pipe Innovative Program Award for its diabetes prevention and treatment course for community health aides. Community health aides are the first line of medical care for people living in rural and remote parts of Alaska. The eight-week curriculum combines academic coursework with experiential learning provided by a team that includes a nurse practitioner, pharmacist, physical therapist, and registered dietitian. A clinical team with extensive knowledge of diabetes, the cultural values of Alaska Native people, and the Alaskan way of life designed the training modules. Providing this training to community health aides has helped improve the quality of patient care in villages and reduce complications from diabetes. An added bonus: The community health aides adopt many of the lifestyle changes that support their own wellness, serving as peer role models.


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