Native Americans develop diabetes at a rate of 33 percent—three times greater than that of whites and twice that of African Americans. The development of diabetes puts people at two to four times greater risk of stroke, hypertension, kidney disease, periodontal disease, and blindness. Recently, members of the Unkechaug Nation have become increasingly concerned about the rising rate of diabetes on their reservation, and identified that a window of opportunity exists when lifestyle modifications can stop or significantly delay the progression of disease from prediabetes to diabetes type 2. These changes in diet and exercise are best initiated at the community level, tailored so that they meet the needs of those who are using them. To develop an action plan, a three-way collaboration has been formed among the Unkechaug Nation, Adelphi University Center for Health Innovation, and Winthrop University Hospital Obesity and Diabetes Institute. This partnership, the Unkechaug Nation’s Initiative to End Diabetes, is formed to
- outline a set of partnership steps for a community-based effort focused on education and lifestyle modification,
- develop a structure and process that would support applications for future funding opportunities, and
- invite and engage stakeholders and interested participants at the local, regional, and national levels.