The Awatii Wellness Center on the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation in North Dakota. Photo from Fort Berthold Diabetes Program / Facebook

Tribes receive grants from Special Diabetes Program for Indians

Tribes around the nation are receiving grants from the Special Diabetes Program for Indians, an initiative that combats high rates of diabetes in Indian Country.

In New Mexico, six tribes are receiving $2.3 million in fiscal year 2016, the state's Congressional delegation announced. The Indian Health Service in Albuquerque will use another $202,225 grants to help tribes in the region.

"Fighting the diabetes epidemic in our Tribal communities starts on the ground, and these grants to Tribes across New Mexico will support locally driven efforts to combat the disease," Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) said in a press release.

Four tribes in Nevada are also benefiting from the program. They will receive nearly $1.97 million for the current fiscal year.

"The Special Diabetes Program for Indians is a key tool in combating the unusually high prevalence of diabetes among American Indian communities, and that’s why I fought to include a two-year renewal of the program in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015," Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) said in a press release. "These SDPI grants will have a big impact in Nevada."

Over in North Dakota, the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation received a $620,774 grant. The Trenton Indian Service Area, which serves members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, was awarded $323,285.

"It’s encouraging to see sustained health support in Indian County,” Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota) said in a press release. “No matter where someone lives, we must make sure they have quality health care, which is particularly important for Native American communities that are disproportionately impacted by diabetes."

“It is vitally important to ensure that North Dakotans and our Native Americans have the tools they need to live healthy lives,” added Sen. John Hoeven (R-North Dakota). “Today’s grant will help raise awareness of diabetes risks and give participants the planning and support they need to lower their risk for developing diabetes."

Last April, Congress authorized a two-year extension of the program through H.R.2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. It provides $150 million a year in grants.

Tribes have been seeking an increase in funding levels and longer, or even permanent, extensions. Congress, however, has been unwilling to look at a long-term solution even though the program has generated positive results. Youth obesity and diabetes rates have not increased in Indian Country since 2006 -- the program began 13 years ago, Mark Trahant reported.

Get the Story:
Diabetes grant awarded to Mescalero Apache Tribe (The Ruidoso News 1/28)

Related Stories:
Mark Trahant: Indian Country finds success in diabetes fight (05/19)
Sen. Barrasso highlights 100 days of work on Indian legislation (04/16)
Congress passes renewal of Indian Country diabetes program (04/16)
Yvette Roubideaux: Diabetes program works for Indian Country (04/09)