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SEARHC Diabetes wins John Pipe Voices for Change award



SITKA, Oct. 7, 2011 — The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Diabetes Program received the American Diabetes Association’s John Pipe Voices for Change award for advocacy on Sept. 28, during the 28th annual National Indian Health Board Consumer Conference in Anchorage.

The John Pipe Voices for Change awards — presented in the three categories of advocacy, outcomes and innovation — recognize effective diabetes treatment and prevention services in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. The awards honor the memory of John Pipe, a long-time diabetes advocate from Wolf Point, Mont.

The SEARHC Diabetes Program was one of two tribal diabetes programs honored for advocacy (the other was the Native Health Diabetes Program of Phoenix, Ariz.). Honored in the category of outcomes was the Yakama Indian Health Service (IHS) Healthy Heart Program of Toppenish, Wash. Innovation awards went to the Norton Sound Health Corp. CAMP (Chronic care Active Management and Prevention) Department of Nome, and to the Fond du Lac Human Services Diabetes Prevention Program of Cloquet, Minn. The Toiyabe Indian Health Project of Bishop, Calif., received an honorable mention for innovation, and the Warm Springs Diabetes Prevention Program of Warm Springs, Ore., received an honorable mention for outcomes.

“American Indians and Alaska Natives have the highest rate of Type 2 diabetes in the United States,” said Gale Marshall, Chair of the American Diabetes Association’s Awakening the Spirit Native American Subcommittee. “These award recipients are working to change the future of diabetes by developing innovative and successful diabetes prevention and treatment programs, activities and resources.”

The SEARHC Diabetes Program has two grants through the Special Diabetes Program for Indians that are geared toward treatment and prevention — a community-directed grant that focuses on clinical treatment and preventions, and the Lifestyle Balance Program grant that provides 16 classes of lifestyle change education to help people with prediabetes avoid diabetes. SEARHC hosts several clinical activities and community events focused on increasing physical activity and healthy nutrition, including using traditional foods and activities to prevent and treat diabetes. The SEARHC Diabetes Program also hosts two social marketing campaigns —  Know Your ABC’s (A1c test for blood glucose/sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol) and Know Your Numbers (blood glucose/sugar levels). The two campaigns target medical providers, people with diabetes and prediabetes, and people at risk for diabetes, with information presented during luncheons, displays and community events.

“Time seems to have gone by so fast since the first person was diagnosed with diabetes to the development of a diabetes program at SEARHC to now,” said Maybelle Filler, SEARHC Diabetes Program Manager/Grant Coordinator. “Screening and treatment for diabetes have changed, too. What hasn’t changed is the continuing need to advocate for awareness and prevention. What hasn’t changed is the need for people to work in partnership with their providers and advocates, working together so that people living with diabetes do not feel isolated and those who are at risk are not unaware of the disease. The partnership between SEARHC’s two grants serve to strengthen our existing diabetes program. This diabetes team, which is 47-50 people strong, works together so that their communities, friends and families can feel empowered to be the leader of their own health care through awareness. That is our mission. That is our goal.”


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