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 seven partnerships serving 12 communities with large Hispanic populations.
American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation's Peers for Progress program is working with NCLR and the University of North Carolina's Gillings School of Global Public Health to incorporate patient self-management education, peer support and community outreach into a patient-centered medical home model. The implementing site for this project is Alivio Health Center in Chicago, which serves as a primary care "safety net" for more than 20,000 Spanish-speaking residents, many of them Mexican immigrants who have fallen through the cracks of the health care system.
American Pharmacist Association Foundation's Project IMPACT: IMProving America's Communities Together is working in 25 high-need communities. Patients receive intensive education at a local diabetes education center and are teamed with community-based pharmacists who ensure patients are using their medications correctly and adopting prescribed lifestyle changes. Six of the 25 program sites serve communities with large Hispanic populations:
California Health Collaborative -- Bakersfield, California
Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe Pharmacy -- El Paso, Texas
County of Santa Barbara Public Health Department -- Santa Barbara, California
Tucson Urban Community of the El Rio Health Center -- Tucson, Arizona
Variety Care -- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Zufall Health Center -- Dover, New Jersey
Camden (N.J.) Coalition of Healthcare Providers and the Cooper Foundation are strengthening the Camden Citywide Diabetes Collaborative care model by focusing on patient self-management, education and support, care coordination, food access and physical activity programs, and behavioral health and community engagement activities in order to bend the curve on the diabetes burden and health care costs in the city, where 47 percent of residents are Hispanic.
Duke University Medical Center and the Durham County (N.C.) Department of Health and Human Services are piloting a series of community-based interventions, including culturally competent care and Spanish-language outreach and diabetes education programs, to improve diabetes self-management, health outcomes and quality of life for adults in Durham County, where 13 percent are Hispanic, primarily Central American.
Feeding America is working with three member food banks in communities with large Mexican populations in Texas, Ohio and California on a pilot program that partners with local health clinics to provide diabetes screening, care coordination, nutrition and disease education, and healthy foods to adults who are living with type 2 diabetes and are food insecure.
United Hospital Fund is working with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department for the Aging to develop an integrated, community-based diabetes control strategy for seniors living in the city's Washington Heights section, where 75 percent of residents are of Dominican descent. The partners are working to coordinate the delivery of health care information, clinical care and supportive community services for 1,600 seniors in naturally occurring retirement communities.
Sixteenth Street Community Health Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is helping Hispanic patients with type 2 diabetes who have fallen out of a doctor's care for their diabetes at least twice in a 12-month period to reconnect to care, drawing lessons on linkage to care models used for people living with HIV/AIDS.
About Together on Diabetes
Together on Diabetes is a five-year, $115 million initiative of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation to improve health outcomes of adults living with type 2 diabetes in the United States, China and India by strengthening patient self-management education, community-based supportive services and broad-based community mobilization.
Since its launch in November 2010, Together on Diabetes has awarded $41.6 million in grants to 20 organizations working in 27 states and the District of Columbia in the United States.
You can learn morea about Together on Diabetes at TogetherOnDiabetes.com.
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