The Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation is joining the national celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month by highlighting its partners working in Hispanic communities across the United States to fight type 2 diabetes.
The Foundation's Together on Diabetes initiative focuses on improving health outcomes of adults disproportionately affected by the disease. Together on Diabetes has forged partnerships with national Hispanic leadership organizations such as the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and taken a strengths-based approach to transforming and expanding the country's diabetes response.
To more effectively address the growing prevalence of type 2 diabetes among Hispanic adults, Together on Diabetes and its partners are drawing heavily on culture and traditions that promote health and wellness. These traditions include promotoras de salud, frontline public health workers and trusted members of their community who serve as liaisons between health care and social services and people in their community to enhance the cultural competence of the services' design and delivery.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11.8 percent of Hispanics are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes compared to the U.S. national rate of 8.3 percent. Lifetime risk estimates for developing diabetes are higher for both Hispanic men and women than for other ethnic groups. Diabetes is the fifth-leading cause of death among Hispanics in the U.S. and is a leading cause of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputations.
"The diabetes burden among Hispanics is clearly very heavy," said John Damonti, president, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, "but our partners are demonstrating that programs delivered in the community setting and by community members who are steeped in the language, culture and life of the neighborhood -- like promotoras de salud -- can mobilize the community to fight diabetes and have an impact."
For the past two years, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has been partnering with some of the nation's most respected health care organizations to develop comprehensive and effective solutions to improve health outcomes and reduce the burden of diabetes in Hispanic communities. These projects, which are part of the Foundation's five-year, $115 million Together on Diabetes initiative launched on World Diabetes Day 2010, integrate public health and clinical and supportive community services to help people living with type 2 diabetes more effectively self-manage their disease and avoid costly and life-threatening complications such as heart and kidney disease, stroke, damage to the eyes and nerves, and amputation of the fingers, toes or limbs.
"With the current rate of diabetes among Latinos almost double that of non-Latino whites, National Council of La Raza is very committed to engaging the Hispanic community on diabetes self-management, education and prevention efforts," said Delia Pompa, senior vice president of programs at NCLR. "That is why we are proud to partner with the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation to reach Latinos throughout the nation with culturally relevant strategies to fight this disease."
Together on Diabetes partners are currently implementing projects to improve patient self-management and navigation and also expand and integrate community supportive services through
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