Diabetes continues to be a great health concern in the Humboldt Park community. I’ve been President and CEO at Norwegian American Hospital for four years, and with all the efforts toward the prevention of diabetes, it still continues to be a serious health risk.
This year, to address the diabetic needs of this population, we are launching many initiatives and bringing together all the community stakeholders. We initiated a full study of national, state, and local trends to see how they relate to the Humboldt Park community. The study is being conducted by Dr. Aida Giachello and we have received her first draft that gives an overview of the magnitude of the problem.
The study will implement and evaluate a community-based diabetes bilingual and bicultural education and intervention program. We will recruit patients identified in the ED with their A1c greater than 7, or with any other diabetes complications. Pre- and post-assessment will be conducted every 6 months for 1.5 years to all participants to monitor changes in clinical outcomes (weight loss, A1c, high blood pressure), and behavioral (healthy eating, physical activities and, improvement in psycho-functioning). The program with all its components will be presented to various philanthropic organizations for funding.
Norwegian has also identified the need for an endocrinologist who will work for the hospital. We will be creating a registry of all the diabetics using services at Norwegian. The data base will give us an opportunity to determine which patients have their diabetes in control and those who don’t. Our goal and objective is to offer a comprehensive program to help people with diabetes manage their disease. Services will include consultations with an endocrinologist (a physician specializing in disorders of the endocrine glands, including diabetes), a certified diabetes educator and an educational program designed to help patients keep their diabetes under control. Norwegian’s goal is to provide a comprehensive approach to the disease, rather than just providing pieces of the services needed for this population.