National Diabetes Alert Day: Reducing Diabetes Disparities Project reaches nearly 1,000 people diabetes at risk in Cumberland County, NJ
By Carmen Lopez, Project Manager, and Elizabeth Ransom, Director of Corporate Communications
March 27, 2012
On American Diabetes Association Alert Day, the Center for Human Services (CHS) is happy to report that since July 1, 2011, the Reducing Diabetes Disparities Project
has given nearly 1,000 individuals in Cumberland County, New Jersey the American Diabetes Risk Association Test (ADART). Since 2005, the project has provided education to individuals
who test positive or at risk for diabetes in Southern New Jersey (including the cities of Bridgeton, Millville, and Vineland).
American Diabetes Association Alert Day serves as a wake-up call to inform the
American public about the seriousness of the disease, particularly when left undiagnosed or untreated. It also encourages Americans to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out
if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease.
Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by high blood sugar levels that result from defects in the body's ability to produce and/or use insulin.
It affects nearly 26 million Americans, or 8.3% of the population of all ages and origins, and can lead to serious complications, such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease,
stroke, amputation, and death.
Some groups have a higher risk for developing diabetes than others, including people who are overweight, under active (living a sedentary lifestyle), and over the age of 45.
African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and people who have a family history of the disease are also at an increased risk.
Lower educational attainment is also strongly linked to higher diabetes prevalence and worse diabetes control. In Southern Jersey for example, diabetes is much more common among
those Latinos with a 9th grade education or less. Nationally, very large disparities in diabetes-related mortality exist across education levels, with rates three to five times
higher among those with less than a high school degree versus a college degree.
Reducing Diabetes Disparities Project provides intensive education and support
Cumberland County ranks number one in the state for obesity and in the top five for diagnosed diabetes, at 9.2%.
The Reducing Diabetes Disparities Project, which is funded by the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health in New Jersey's
Department of Health and Senior Services, provides diabetes management services to county residents disproportionately affected by the disease, particularly African Americans and Latinos.
In partnership with Community Health Care, Inc. (CHC), a non-profit, community-based medical and dental care provider, the project is raising awareness about disparities in
diabetes services, increasing screening and identification of individuals living with diabetes, and improving access to care and resources for diabetes management.
Instruction for affected individuals includes:
- Individual coaching in both Spanish and English,
- Diabetes Self-Management Education and Take Control of Your Health courses, and
- Nutrition classes about healthy diet with cooking demonstrations.
In addition, a CHS case manager counsels individuals with complicated situations to achieve a better quality of life. For example, the
case manager proves newly diagnosed diabetics with a referral to a local food bank and different non-medical agencies if needed. The project refers people
needing medical care to CHC's federally-qualified health center CompleteCare Health Network.
Additional outreach to people with diabetes
The CHS Bridgeton office teams up with the NJ Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired to provide free eye screenings,
since diabetics are at a higher risk for retinopathy, an eye disease caused by high blood sugar.
CHS NJ also hosts diabetes blood sugar screenings twice a week provided by CompleteCare Health Network. After the screening, we provide people at risk
for diabetes with bags of fresh vegetables, fish, and chicken from the local food bank. The office also offers yoga classes twice a week with a yoga specialist.
Back to top