Innovative Approaches to Diabetes Prevention and Awareness Comes to Life in the Tribal Communities

Alexandria, Virginia
November 4, 2014

American Diabetes Association Announces Sixth Annual John Pipe Voices for Change Award Winners

Several leading Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) grantees were presented with the American Diabetes Association’s  John Pipe Voices for Change Award. These programs are recognized for their effective diabetes treatment and prevention services in American Indian and Alaska Native communities in the categories of Advocacy, Outcomes and Innovation. The awards will be presented throughout American Diabetes Month® and American Indian/Alaska Native month this November. 

“Almost 16 percent of American Indians and Alaskan Natives have diabetes, the highest age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes among all U.S. racial and ethnic groups,” said Shon McCage, MPH, CHES, Chair of the American Diabetes Association's Awakening the Spirit and the American Indian/Alaska Native Diabetes Action Council. “These awards help to honor and bring attention to SDPI programs throughout Indian Country that are helping their communities Stop Diabetes by developing successful diabetes prevention and treatment programs, activities and resources.”

The awards are named in memory of long-time diabetes supporter John Pipe of Wolf Point, Mont., who was a dedicated diabetes advocate and served as a member of the Association’s Native American Initiatives Subcommittee. His longstanding advocacy efforts reached from his local community to Washington, D.C., and affected countless tribal communities.

Advocacy Award: 

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) Diabetes Program
Anchorage, Ala.
The ANTHC Diabetes Program of Anchorage, Ala., offers a range of traditional and nontraditional diabetes care, services and support for the Alaska Natives and American Indians living in Alaska. The program cares for more than 1,000 patients each year at the Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC), but their work extends far beyond. They also provide cooking demonstrations, foot care and even exercise instructors to clinics, health fairs and community events. The team hosted Representative Don Young and Senator Lisa Murkowski at ANMC to learn more about diabetes in Alaska and the impact of the more than 20 SDPI community directed programs. During their visits, ANTHC’s Diabetes team presented highlights of their work, shared an overview of diabetes impact in Alaska and held an SDPI discussion with Congressman Young, Senator Murkowski, Consortium and the Alaska Native Health Board leadership. The team believes these congressional visits provided additional momentum for SDPI reauthorization.

Innovation Award:

Yankton Sioux Tribe Community Directed Diabetes Prevention Program
Wagner, S.D.
The Yankton Sioux Tribe Community Directed Diabetes Prevention Program of Wagner, S.D, provides primary prevention activities to effect lifestyle change in at risk youth and their families. Each family is invited to participate in a multidisciplinary program to begin making healthy lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes. They receive assessment and counseling regarding nutrition, physical activity and psychosocial considerations, where every child completes a clinical evaluation and fitness test. Monthly sessions are held in third grade classrooms, covering nutrition and exercise, with a locally created curriculum. The program’s highlight of this year is their annual day camp, where families are treated to fishing, kayaking, healthy meals and snack, archery, Frisbee golf and geocache.

Outcomes Award:

Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center
Pendleton, Ore.
The Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center of Pendleton, Ore., is a rural clinic serving 3000 tribal members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The center’s Diabetes Education Program is part of a team of educators that help patients build skills to prevent diabetes complications and stay healthy. The program includes group classes, support group and individual education appointments with a team of educators, including a diabetes program coordinator, registered nurse, technical eye photographer, registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, fitness trainer and life coach. Patients are encouraged to bring a family member or friend when attending. 

The SDPI continues to provide Indian health programs and tribal communities the resources and tools they need to prevent and treat diabetes. It funds nearly 400 community based programs, offering local tribes and health programs the opportunity to set priorities that meet the needs of their community. For more than a decade, Congress has provided funding for the SDPI and the American Diabetes Association has played an integral part in advocating for this important program.  The Association, including the Awakening the Spirit Subcommittee, will continue to work for strong support of SDPI.

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About the American Diabetes Association

Nearly half of American adults have diabetes or prediabetes; more than 30 million adults and children have diabetes; and every 21 seconds, another individual is diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. Founded in 1940, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization whose mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. The ADA drives discovery by funding research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, as well as to search for cures; raises voice to the urgency of the diabetes epidemic; and works to safeguard policies and programs that protect people with diabetes. In addition, the ADA supports people living with diabetes, those at risk of developing diabetes, and the health care professionals who serve them through information and programs that can improve health outcomes and quality of life. For more information, please call the ADA at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn)