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IHS Targets Diabetes

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The Indian Health Service, an agency of the Department of Health and Human
Services, has announced the availability of $24.7 million in competitive
grant funds to be awarded to IHS/tribal/urban Indian programs. The grants
are to be targeted at efforts to prevent diabetes among American Indians
and Alaska Natives, and to address cardiovascular disease risk factors, one
of the most serious complications of diabetes.

"In the last decade, the prevalence of diabetes among American Indians and
Alaska Natives has increased more than 50 percent, making this grant
funding of timely and vital importance," stated Dr. Charles W. Grim,
director of the IHS. "These grants will help to reduce the effects of this
devastating disease, which is daily taking its toll on the health of Indian
people and the vitality of Indian communities."

These newly established competitive grants are offered through the Special
Diabetes Program for Indians grant program, which was established by the
Balanced Budget Act of 1998. This grant program, administered by the IHS,
promotes collaborative strategies for the prevention and treatment of
diabetes and its complications for American Indians and Alaska Natives.
This is accomplished by the 12 IHS Area offices through coordination of a
network of 19 model diabetes programs, regional diabetes consultants and
tribal, IHS and urban Indian diabetes prevention and treatment programs.

Over the past four years, $500 million in non-competitive grants have been
provided to more than 320 tribal, IHS and urban Indian health programs in
35 states to support diabetes prevention and disease management activities
at the local level. Grantees use these funds to improve their diabetes
well-ness/physical activity centers, provide diabetes self-management
training and purchase newer medications that are more effective in treating
Type 2 diabetes. This program has substantially increased the availability
of services such as basic clinical exams, newer treatment medications and
therapies, laboratory tests to assess diabetes control and complications,
screening for diabetes and prediabetes, nutrition education and physical
fitness activities.

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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 that will strengthen clinical, public health
and community approaches to the problem of diabetes.

Further information on the IHS National Diabetes Program and related
subjects is available at www.ihs.gov/MedicalPrograms/diabetes/index.asp.
Application information for SDPI grants is available at
www.ihs.gov/MedicalPrograms/Diabetes/apply/ag_index.asp.