|Special Diabetes Program For Indians (SDPI)
American Indians have the highest prevalence of diabetes—more than double the prevalence of any other group in the general U.S. populace. In some American Indian Communities, more than half of adults aged 18 and older have diagnosed diabetes, with prevalence rates reaching as high as 60%. Adding to these troubling statistics is the alarming rise of obesity and type 2 diabetes in young American Indians. These youngsters suffer from higher rates of diabetes complications because they developed diabetes earlier in their lives and their mortality rate is more than three times higher than the national average.
In response to this growing epidemic, Congress established the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI). This program, implemented at the Pueblo in 1997 puts into service innovative, effective and culturally relevant strategies to attack this life-threatening disease. Using proven diabetes treatment and prevention strategies—such as patient education, quality diabetes care, physical activity, nutrition and weight management activities—the program strives to improve health outcomes amid the Pueblo Population. This year the program transitioned in to a case management system with greater emphasis placed on diabetic patient care and education, healthy lifestyles, choices, behavior change, self-care and transportation to medical appointments if needed.
Hilda Chavarria, Health Education Coordinator, Ana Lopez and Karla Estrada, Case Managers
Currently the program is managed by the Health Education Coordinator who, in collaboration with two Case Managers, works to apply best practices and improve patient outcomes. A supplemental support staff, consisting of a physical fitness instructor, a registered dietitian and a chef support the program by offering a spectrum of age-appropriate services. For example the fitness instructor gives age appropriate Zumba classes to the Elders, preschoolers and participants at the Tuy-Pathu Tribal Daycare. The registered dietitian furnishes education on nutrition and meal planning while the chef gives cooking demonstrations on how to prepare healthy and nutritious meals. The diabetes program participates in numerous tribal community events. Sugar, blood pressure and BMI screenings are provided throughout the year.
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