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How COVID-19 fight is shaping the effort to end type 2 diabetes

0 2 years ago

Yet the pandemic also is putting diabetes prevention efforts into a new light, explained Dr. Klausner, an internist who also is a physician champion for DiabetesFreeNC. That is the statewide initiative where AMA partnered with the North Carolina Medical Society and others to support collaborative efforts to end type 2 diabetes in the Tar Heel State.

Rather than think of the pandemic as having “derailed” diabetes prevention or other population health efforts, Dr. Klausner said that “COVID-19 expedited new perspective in how we can do a better job addressing historic roadblocks to community health initiatives, including those related to diabetes and prevention.”

Get out into the community

“As we started to roll vaccination efforts and looked at how we do it in an efficient and equitable way—especially in some of our local COVID hot spot areas, we realized we had to get and collaborate close with trusted community partners,” said Dr. Klausner. “It made everyone start thinking about how we need to do this more across medicine.”

“In Wake County, where WakeMed is located, diabetes-related mortality is three times higher in Black residents compared to white residents, and if we’re going to solve that, we’re not going to solve it within the walls of our hospital systems,” he said. As with COVID-19 vaccination efforts, “we have to work with community-based organizations and local governments and look at policies that can help us to address larger underlying causes in our communities.”

For example, “with our YMCA diabetes prevention classes, we are exploring community-based interventions that focus on resident empowerment through education efforts provided in coordination with community partners, churches and medical providers that can hopefully increase enrollment,” Dr. Klausner said.


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