Health | Opinion

Opinion: Diabetes program makes difference in Indian Country





"This November, we celebrate not only National Diabetes Awareness Month but also Native American Heritage Month. While it is easy to consider this a mere coincidence, it is hard to ignore the connection between diabetes and the American Indian community. But rather than focus on the staggering number of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) suffering from type 2 diabetes—2.8 times higher than the national average—this November we choose to focus on the Special Diabetes Program, an amazing program that is making a real difference not only on type 2 diabetes in Indian country, but also on type 1 diabetes nationally and here in Michigan.

The Special Diabetes Program has two parts—the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) fighting type 2 diabetes in AI/AN communities and the Special Diabetes Program (SDP) advancing type 1 diabetes research. Diabetes is a human and financial burden, affecting over 26 million Americans with a cost to the U.S. economy of approximately $174 billion. In Michigan, according to 2008 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, approximately 685,000 people—8.6 percent of the state’s population—have diagnosed diabetes with many of them suffering from serious diabetes complications or conditions."

Get the Story:
Cathy Abramson and Isabel Burger: The Special Diabetes Program: Providing Hope for People With Diabetes (Indian Country Today 11/28)