Diabetes is a multi-faceted disease affecting American Indian/Alaska Natives disproportionately in the United States. The Seminole Tribe of Florida (STOF) is no exception. Previously, the STOF has been able to secure Special Diabetes Program for Indian's (SDPI) funding established by Congress by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, to minimize disparities in Seminole communities.
STOF's "Pathways to Healthy Families" is a continuation of the Integrative Health Department's efforts to provide the highest quality of care in preventing & treating diabetes & co-morbidities in Tribal communities. The proposed 2023 SDPI project's main objective is to increase the number of active patients with diabetes who will receive physical activity education, whether through clinical consults, pathways walking/activity program community events or rehabilitation services. The acute nature of the COVID pandemic and necessary national shelter-in-place protocols to keep people safe, have left many weakened by illness, physically debilitated and mentally drained. Along with more traditional physical activity education programming, rehab-based physical therapy education through physical therapy modalities will underscore the importance of continuing to move your body for better health at every age; assisting in improvements in function, balance, mobility, mood while also decreasing risk of falls, injury/re-injury.
From a clinical perspective, dilated retinal camera trainings and exams are supported through SDPI funding and continue to make a difference in STOF's rural communities, as do the American Diabetes Association Professional conferences, which provide continuing education for STOF clinical staff.
Finally, Diabetes Prevention for at-risk youth rounds out the balance of STOF's "Healthy Families" programming. Prevention lifestyle management education takes place in the community, schools, after school and summer camps. The camps and community events, done safely, are so important for the coming year as increased anxiety and aggression among young people has become apparent post-Covid. The socialization provided through these diabetes-driven community events provides a family focused intergenerational, culturally sensitive approach to diabetes prevention and management.
The above Best Practice "Physical Activity Education" and additional areas of focus are summarized in the proposed 2023 SDPI activities that will be implemented to create "Pathways to Healthy Families" in the Seminole Tribe of Florida. It is our expectation that this multi-factorial and intergenerational approach to community needs and input from STOF Health & Human Services/Tribal leadership will positively address diabetes in the Seminole communities.