Innovative Approaches to Diabetes Prevention and Awareness Comes to Life in the Tribal Communities

Pratice Zumba provides daily exercise for youth on Yankton Sioux Indian Reservation

Pratice Zumba provides daily exercise for youth on Yankton Sioux Indian Reservation

American Diabetes Association Announces Sixth Annual John Pipe Voices for Change Award Winners


November is American Diabetes Month

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA — Several leading Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) grantees were presented with the American Diabetes Association’s John Pipe Voices for Change Award. These programs are recognized for their effective diabetes treatment and prevention services in American Indian and Alaska Native communities in the categories of Advocacy, Outcomes, and Innovation. The awards will be presented throughout American Diabetes Month and American Indian/Alaska Native month this November.

“Almost 16 percent of American Indians and Alaskan Natives have diabetes, the highest age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes among all U.S. racial and ethnic groups,” said Shon McCage, MPH, CHES, Chair of the American Diabetes Association’s Awakening the Spirit and the American Indian/Alaska Native Diabetes Action Council. “These awards help to honor and bring attention to SDPI programs throughout Indian Country that are helping their communities Stop Diabetes by developing successful diabetes prevention and treatment programs, activities and resources.”

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 awards are named in memory of long-time diabetes supporter John Pipe of Wolf Point, Montana, who was a dedicated diabetes advocate and served as a member of the Association’s Native American Initiatives Subcommittee. His longstanding advocacy efforts reached from his local community to Washington, D.C., and affected countless tribal communities.

Advocacy Award: 

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) Diabetes Program
Anchorage, Alaska

HANFThe ANTHC Diabetes Program, of Anchorage, Ala., offers a range of traditional and nontraditional diabetes care, services and support for the Alaska Native People and American Indians living in Alaska. The program cares for more than 1,000 patients each year at the Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC) but their work extends far beyond. They also provide cooking demonstrations, foot care and even exercise instructors to clinics, health fairs and community events. The team hosted Representative Don Young and Senator Lisa Murkowski at ANMC to learn more about diabetes in Alaska and the impact of the more than 20 SDPI community directed programs. During their visits, ANTHC’s Diabetes team presented highlights of their work, shared an overview of diabetes impact in Alaska and held an SDPI discussion with Congressman Young, Senator Murkowski, Consortium and the Alaska Native Health Board leadership. The team believes these congressional visits provided additional momentum for SDPI reauthorization.

Outcomes Award:

Yankton Sioux Tribe Community Directed Diabetes Prevention Program
Wagner, South Dakota

The Yankton Sioux Tribe Community Directed Diabetes Prevention Program of Wagner, South Dakota, provides primary prevention activities to effect lifestyle change in at risk youth and their families. Each family is invited to participate in a multidisciplinary program to begin making healthy lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes. They receive assessment and counseling regarding nutrition, physical activity and psychosocial considerations, where every child completes a clinical evaluation and fitness test. Monthly sessions are held in third grade classrooms, covering nutrition and exercise, with a locally created curriculum. The program’s highlight of this year is their annual day camp, where families are treated to fishing, kayaking, healthy meals and snack, archery, Frisbee golf and geo-cache.

Innovation Award:

Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center
Pendleton, Oregon

Yellowhawk Wellness Teepee opens for public at events

Yellowhawk Wellness Teepee opens for public at events

The Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center of Pendleton, Ore., is a rural clinic serving 3000 tribal members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The center’s Diabetes Education Program is part of a team of educators that help patients build skills to prevent diabetes complications and stay healthy. The program includes group classes, support group and individual education appointments with a team of educators, including a registered nurse, registered dietician/ certified diabetes educator, fitness trainer and life coach. Patients are encouraged to bring a family member or friend when attending.

The SDPI continues to provide Indian health programs and tribal communities the resources and tools they need to prevent and treat diabetes. It funds nearly 400 community based programs, offering local tribes and health programs the opportunity to set priorities that meet the needs of their community. For over a decade Congress has provided funding for the SDPI and the American Diabetes Association has played an integral part in advocating for this important program.  The Association, including the Awakening the Spirit Subcommittee, will continue to work for strong support of SDPI.




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