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IHS distributes $23.7 million to address diabetes complications and prevention

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WASHINGTON - The Indian Health Service, an agency of the Department of
Health and Human Services, has awarded 66 competitive Diabetes Program
demonstration project grants totaling $23.7 million. Thirty-six grant
awards are for primary prevention and 30 are for cardiovascular disease
risk factor reduction. IHS Director Dr. Charles W. Grim began the
distribution of these grants by presenting symbolic checks to 23
IHS/tribal/urban Indian program grantees at six locations.

"These diabetes grants will help to reduce the effects of this devastating
disease among American Indian and Alaska Native people and their
communities by addressing cardiovascular disease risk factors, one of the
most serious complications of diabetes. In addition, these grants will
allow tribes to begin to learn how to prevent this devastating disease
before it starts, especially in young people," stated Dr. Grim. "The
prevalence of diabetes among American Indians and Alaska Natives has
increased more than 50 percent in the last decade."

Diabetes rates are significantly higher among American Indians and Alaska
Natives than in the general U.S. population, as is the incidence of
diabetes-related complications. Although there are still significant
challenges in dealing with the epidemic of diabetes, there are many new
opportunities and strategies being used in Indian health programs that will
strengthen clinical, public health and community approaches to the problem
of diabetes.

Grantees will use these funds to improve their diabetes wellness/physical
activity centers, provide diabetes self-management training, and purchase
newer medications that are more effective in treating Type II diabetes and
its complications. These demonstration projects will attempt to prevent the
onset of diabetes and also prevent cardiovascular disease in people who
already have diabetes, using research-proven strategies in the real-world
settings of American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Some of these
strategies include using lifestyle coaching, case management, nutrition and
physical activity approaches, smoking cessation strategies, newer
medications, more aggressive treatment strategies and behavioral
strategies.

These newly established competitive grants were offered through the Special
Diabetes Program for Indians. This grant program, administered by the IHS,
promotes collaborative strategies for the primary prevention of diabetes
and the complication of cardiovascular disease in diabetes in American
Indians and Alaska Natives. This is being accomplished by the 12 IHS area
offices through coordination of a large diabetes network including 12
regional diabetes consultants and more than 300 tribal, IHS and urban
Indian diabetes prevention and treatment programs.

Further information on the IHS National Diabetes Program and related
subjects is available at www.ihs.gov/MedicalPrograms/diabetes/index.asp.