The Florida A&M University Center for Health Equity is seeking recognition from the Center of Disease Control for the Diabetes Intervention Project.
The project is modeled after the National Diabetes Prevention Program. NDPP is based off a national diabetes prevention study. The study showed that with moderate changes in lifestyle habits, participants were able to lose between five and seven percent of their body weight. Overall, individuals were able to reduce the risk of pre-diabetes by 58 percent.
Kimberly A. Hires, Ph.D., RN, an assistant professor at Florida State University, College of Nursing is ecstatic about the program.
“For years, we [healthcare professionals] focused on waiting for someone to be diagnosed with diabetes before providing the necessary education and management,” said Hires. “Now we are realizing that healthcare is far more effective when you focus on prevention.”
DIP is a continuum of activities stemming from the Division of Pharmacy Practice at FAMU. For almost eight years, the division has been providing diabetes care to uninsured patients in Leon County at Neighborhood Medical Center and Bond Community Health Center.
Three FAMU researchers have completed the two-day training at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health and are now certified to provide the NDPP curriculum to the community.
Otis Kirksey, Pharm.D led the recognition that would allow Kirksey and his research associates: Cynthia Seaborn, DrPH and Fajr Hassan, Pharm.D. to train others on the NDPP curriculum across the state.
“This would allow us to train other people to go out to do the same things we are doing,” said Seaborn. “Actually monitor them and reach more people than just this county, if we get the certification.”
The team is currently applying for “pending recognition” in March. Once the initial group has completed the process, they can apply for full recognition with the CDC.
The researchers hope that the project will help people who cannot get to premiere health facilities receive exceptional health care – especially in communities of color.
The CDC confirmed that in 2012, 29.1 million U.S. citizens have diabetes. African Americans compose 13.2 percent of that number. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 55 percent of African Americans are more likely to be uninsured than their white counterparts. In 2013, 17 percent of Africans Americans were uninsured.
Kirksey hopes to enroll the first cohort by March or early April. The project will require a year of dedication from participants, including 16 sessions in the first six months and another six sessions in the months after. The team has decided to open the project to staff at FAMU. Participants will have to go through a process to determine if they have or are at risk for pre-diabetes.
Kirksey said, “There is a responsibility that all of us have to assume, that we make the world better for those who are less fortunate. ”
Kirksey’s interest in diabetes started when he first came to FAMU and was assigned to lecture on endocrine diseases. Diabetes has affected Kirksey’s family members – some had to lose limbs, have gone blind and even succumbed to death. Diabetes prevention has become his “ministry.”