Clinton announces diabetes funding
Facebook Twitter Email
JULY 14, 2000

At the national conference for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), President Clinton on Thursday announced the availability of new funds for diabetes research and called on Congress to approve funding to fight diabetes in Indian Country.

The National Institutes of Health and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation will use $5 million to fund 10 research sites across the world. The sites will use conduct clinical trials in an attempt to find a cure for Type I, or juvenile, diabetes.

About 1 million Americans have Type I diabetes. Approximately 25 percent of them are minorities.

However, Native Americans most suffer from Type II, or adult onset, diabetes. The overwhelming majority of diabetes cases among Native Americans, 98 percent, are Type II diabetes.

Type II diabetes results from the improper use or inadequate production of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to convert sugar, starches, and other food into the energy needed for daily life.

To combat Type II diabetes, Clinton's new mid-session review budget calls for about $150 million over five years to fund over 300 tribal grant programs to prevent Type II diabetes in at-risk American Indians. Through the Indian Health Service (IHS), the grants will enhance diabetes care and education with the creation of new diabetes clinics.

The Diabetes Program of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska is one of the five original model diabetes programs of the IHS. As more funding has become available to fight diabetes in Indian Country, other tribes have looked to the Winnebago for advice and help.

Along with the Little Priest Tribal College, the tribe has created a continuing education program that focuses on training diabetes prevention teams.

"We realized there was a need to share what we know and our experiences," said Michelle Smith, the tribe's diabetes program coordinator.

Clinton's budget also calls for funding to create more teams of health care professionals dedicated to diabetes treatment in Indian Country, where the prevalance of diabetes among some tribes is extraordinarily high.

The Pima Tribe of the Gila River Community are one tribe who have been hardest hit. According to the National Institute of Health, the number of tribal members over 55 with diabetes has grown from 45 percent to 80 percent since 1965.

"I shock my people by saying that if we don't get this in check now, we'll become an extinct people 75 years from now," says former Pima Governor Mary Thomas, who also suffers from diabetes.

Related Stories:
Diabetes funding killed (The Medicine Wheel 7/14)
Scientists decode human genome (Tech 06/27)
Heart disease doubles (The Medicine Wheel 06/26)
Tribe holds first health fair (The Medicine Wheel 06/09)
State to help tribes (The Medicine Wheel 06/22)

Only on Indianz.Com:
Diabetes Links and Resources (The Medicine Wheel 4/10)

Relevant Links:
The Whitehouse -
The National Insititutes of Health -
The Juvenile Diabetes Foundation -
The Indian Health Service -