There is a lack of comprehensive, culturally-appropriate diabetes care under one roof for the American Indian and Alaska native (AI/AN) population in Billings and Yellowstone County, Montana. Currently, patients are referred out to Endocrinology, Optometry, Podiatry, and Dental services. There is not a system in place to monitor and track a patient that has diabetes to ensure they are receiving all their recommended care per the American Diabetes Association. Our patients also tend to be fairly transient, so it is difficult to monitor their diabetes care. There is also a need for additional education for the AI/AN community who may not fully understand how uncontrolled diabetes can cause many other health complications such as stroke, heart attack, and vision loss. It is not "just a sugar disease" and it can be controlled to a great extent by making lifestyle changes, including increasing physical activity and embracing better nutritional choices.
This program will begin to address comprehensive care in one location by working to establish partnerships with specialty care services that can take part in regular Diabetes Clinic activities at the Billings Urban Indian clinic location. Clinic staff and organization leadership will be active in implementation activities, including assisting in the forming of valuable partnerships, and securing additional funding to further enhance diabetes prevention and treatment services.
The Billings Urban Indian Health and Wellness Center (BUIHWC), operated by the applicant, Native American Development Corporation (NADC) has been providing diabetes treatment and prevention services for AI/AN patients since opening the doors of the clinic in January of 2019. BUIHWC offers both medical care and behavioral health screening, diagnosis, and treatment. Three of the staff have been trained as coaches for the CDC Lifestyle Balance program. The medical team routinely screens for pre-diabetes and treats diabetic patients on a regular basis. The clinic conducts A1C testing and the 4-in-1 grant program also contributes to diabetes education.
The applicant, NADC is headquartered in Billings, Montana. BUIHWC operates from their location at 1230 N. 30th Street, which is within the healthcare corridor of the community. Billings is located in Yellowstone County, in south central Montana and it is the largest population center within 500 miles. The urban Indian population, of approximately 9,500, is the largest in the state. Primary and specialty medical services are available in the immediate area and we are able to refer out for specific needs, as appropriate. The clinic location and having a facility in the largest population center has a very positive impact on the activities and services offered through the clinic and our community health programs. We are able to offer a wider variety of services and secure funding to support those services due to the location and the AI/AN population served.