Health | Opinion

Richard Gomez: Chumash Tribe battling epidemic of diabetes

Richard Gomez, the vice chairman of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, discusses the tribe's war on diabetes:
In some tribal communities the prevalence of people using crutches or in wheelchairs brings to mind the image of a hospital treating war victims. And in many ways that is an apt description. Diabetes is waging war on tribal people.

But we are fighting back. Someday, diabetes will not continue to afflict more than 16 percent of the American Indian population in the United States. That’s about 1 in 6 of us. Another third have pre-diabetes.

The Santa Ynez Tribal Health Clinic on the Chumash Reservation has long focused on diabetes in our community. Our clinic was established in the 1970s because of the need to bring local health care to the reservation and the lack of options. Ever since then, the clinic’s health professionals have been expanding a health center that specializes in “the highest standards of quality health care through modern medicine and cultural traditions.” Today, our clinic is now one of the largest health clinics in the valley.

Get the Story:
Richard Gomez: Battling a tribal epidemic (The Solvang Valley News 7/18)

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