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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

UTHealth Committed to ‘Changing Diabetes’ in Houston

Cities Changing Diabetesannounces programs to mobilize against diabetes epidemic.

A multidisciplinary, international team of investigators, led by Dr. Stephen Linder, director of the Institute for Health Policy at the University of Texas School of Public Health, have identified different types of vulnerability to diabetes that exist across communities, as well as the social and cultural factors that reinforce them. Along with the Houston Health Department and the city’s mayor, Dr. Linder presented research at Cities Changing Diabetes Houston Town Hall event at city hall. Houston mayor Mr. Sylvester Turner kicked off the program and gave his support to the Cities Changing Diabetes initiative.


[Photo: Dr. Stephen Linder]

“Vulnerability to diabetes is prevalent in neighborhoods throughout Houston,” said Dr. Linder, lead researcher with Cities Changing Diabetes in Houston. “By being able to understand the social and cultural factors behind it, we can develop targeted prevention methods.”

The Cities Changing Diabetes program launched in Houston in November 2014 with a comprehensive analysis of the major gaps and vulnerabilities associated with diabetes. Soon after it launched, the program invested more than a year researching the diabetes epidemic in Houston. A community-wide assessment identified the populations most at risk for developing the disease and compared them to Houstonians already diagnosed with diabetes.

“Diabetes affects all Houstonians – our families, our communities, our schools, our workplaces, our places of worship and ultimately our economy,” Mr. Turner said. “It is an epidemic that has enormous financial and human costs. As leaders who care about Houston, we owe it to our community to do all that we can to help them prevent it.”

“Traditional methods for promoting the prevention and detection of diabetes have gotten us far, but we can no longer solely rely on these to have an impact on this serious disease,” said Dr. Faith E. Foreman, assistant director, Houston Health Department.

This work and 11 round tables conducted with a wide range of community stakeholders led to the formation of five Action Work Groups with representatives from approximately 60 faith-based organizations, government, health insurance companies, medical providers, employers and nonprofit entities that proposed a number of initiatives for addressing the diabetes epidemic locally.

During the event, Novo Nordisk announced a challenge grant of $100,000 ($50,000 in funds and $50,000 in technical assistance and support) to jump start the virtual Houston Diabetes Resource Center (HDRC). The HDRC will serve as a “one-stop shop” website for consumers, providers and employers and house important resources for diabetes prevention, detection and care.

Read further about the concepts developed by the coalition, including “Walk it out Houston” and more here.