Overcoming Disparities in Diabetes care
As a Diabetes patient advocate I am tasked with not only being A torch bearer in a fight for a cure but also as important working towards prevention for those not afflicted yet. For many of us, we tend to negate if not ignore the second part and I am as guilty of that as anyone else. Diabetes prevention takes a back seat for me on a personal level since I already have the disease.
But patient advocacy means fighting just as strongly for the yet to be afflicted because as statisticians are so apt to putting it diabetes will eventually come looking for someone else in my family as the epidemic grows.
For a long time, I was the only diabetic in my family, until my mother was diagnosed with Insulin resistance a few years ago. However if there ever was a term a mild case of diabetes then she has it, Mostly treating her condition with diet, exercise and oral medication as needed. This past summer the pastor’s daughter at my church was diagnosed with Insulin resistance as well, she is only 12 and was placed on Metformin. I certainly live in fear that my Son might eventually contract diabetes given the strong hereditary factors Influencing diagnosis. A fight for prevention has definitely taken on a personal meaning to me.
Its been Projected that by the year 2025, 52% of the worlds population will be either diabetic or Pre-diabetic if current trends continue. Which ultimately means that as much as diabetes is an epidemic now, the future looks even bleaker if serious efforts are not partaken to not only cure but also in prevention.
Another well known glaring fact is that the minority community African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islander Americans are at an even higher risk for type 2 diabetes than the rest of the population, Twice the contraction rate in fact according to the CDC.
Having the trifecta, being Black, diabetic and a patient advocate, Means am always looking for ways to be more involved with diabetes advocacy in my own community. Which is why I jumped at the opportunity to be involved in the 5th annual disparities forum convened by the ADA.
The Disparities forum is a platform to address the severe onset of type 2 diabetes in high-risk populations and provide a framework on tackling some of the problems associated with prevention and treatment for example cultural competency, health literacy and health equity in diabetes care among other topics.
Due to some personal reasons I was not able to attend this year’s Forum which was held a few days ago DC but it does not mean that the message and call for action was not heard loud and clear. You catch the highlights of the sessions which were streamed live on U stream.
There is a Disparity in environmental factors influencing prevention and treatment of diabetes among the communities. Which is why while diabetes Incidences in minority communities and those at risk is high, treatment and prevention is severely lacking. It is up to everyone from us at the grass root level to our representatives both political economical and social in breaking down these Socio-economic barriers if we are to succeed in fighting this disease.
The ADA with the disparities partnership forum is attempting to do just that and I for one am looking forward to seeing real actionable solutions implemented from the summit.