Diabetes is one of the greatest public health crises our country is facing. Nearly 26 million Americans in the United States are living with diabetes. And there are 79 million people who have prediabetes, placing them at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. While diabetes affects Americans of all ages and across all cultures, it disproportionately affects African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, American
Indian/Alaskan Natives, Asian American/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, older adults, women, people with low income and those who lack insurance.
On Oct. 22 and 23, the American Diabetes Association held its fifth annual Disparities Partnership Forum in Washington, D.C. Garth Graham, MD, MPH, FACP, Assistant Dean for
Health Policy and Chief of the Health Services Research Section at the University of Florida School of Medicine; Kenneth Moritsugu, MD, MPH, FACPM, Vice President for Global Strategic Affairs for Johnson & Johnson’s Family Diabetes Companies; Pedro Jose Greer, MD, Assistant Dean Academic Affairs, FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine; and Augustus A. White, III, MD, PhD, Professor of Medical
Education and Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School, were among a distinguished group of nationally acclaimed health experts who joined us to explore collaborative efforts that could improve diabetes care in high-risk populations. Actors and entertainers Ben Vereen and David & Tamela Mann of “Meet the Browns” were among this year’s celebrity honorees for their efforts in the fight against diabetes.
Together we explored collaborative methods to improve diabetes care in high-risk populations by addressing cultural competency, health literacy and health equity. This two-day event was designed to facilitate dialogue among an interdisciplinary group including health care professionals and practitioners, community health educators, academicians, public health officials, policy makers, researchers and patient advocacy groups.
The Association is working to Stop Diabetes® and for five years we have convened this forum to address health disparities. This year’s forum was indeed informative and, we hope, will lead to changes for people living with diabetes. Living with diabetes presents challenges even when it is properly managed. When people with diabetes lack access to basic care and are unable to manage their diabetes, the prognosis often changes for the worse, and the impact on the entire family is usually devastating. It is imperative that we educate and empower high-risk populations living with, and those at risk for, diabetes and also provide resources for the people who can help them lead healthier lives.
For more information on the Association, our community programs and our work to eliminate health disparities, visit diabetes.org. You can watch video highlights of the event at http://new.livestream.com/ADA2012/events/1615051/archives (the videos will be available until Nov. 20).
Iris Hunter, PhD, M.Ed.
Vice President, High Risk Programs and Health Disparities
American Diabetes Association