In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Diabetes prevention became virtual in North Carolina to help patients with pre-diabetes continue their lifestyle change journey. But even with remote selection available, it was difficult to focus on diabetes prevention efforts because there was so much attention on COVID-19, said Brian Klausner, MD, medical director of WakeMed’s Community Population Health program in Raleigh.
Yet the pandemic also puts diabetes prevention efforts in a new light, explained Dr. Klausner, an internist who is also a doctor’s advocate Diabetes Free NC. It is the nationwide initiative where the AMA partnered with the North Carolina Medical Society and others to support the collaboration to end type 2 diabetes in Tar Heel State.
Instead of thinking that the pandemic has “derailed” diabetes prevention or other health interventions for the population, Dr. Klausner that “COVID-19 accelerated a new perspective on how we can do a better job of addressing historic roadblocks for community health initiatives, including those related to diabetes and prevention.”
“As we began rolling out vaccination efforts and looking at how to do it effectively and fairly – especially in some of our local COVID hotspot areas, we realized we needed to come and work closely with trusted community partners. , “said Dr. Klausner. “It got everyone thinking about how we should do this more across medicine.”
“In Wake County, where WakeMed is located, diabetes-related mortality is three times higher among black residents compared to white residents, and if we have to solve it, we will not solve it within the walls of our hospital systems,” he said. As with the COVID-19 vaccination effort, “we need to work with community-based organizations and local governments and look at policies that can help us 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 educational efforts provided in coordination with community partners, churches and medical providers, which can hopefully increase enrollment,” said Dr. Klausner.
The easiest case of pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes to treat “is a case that never occurs in the first place,” said Dr. Klausner. “So how do we take that mindset of how we approached … the COVID-19 pandemic, and how do we apply the same principles around analyzing the data, identifying vulnerable or high-risk populations and communities, and then providing them with the resources they need? to improve the results? ”
While a lot of preventative care was disrupted by COVID-19, the pandemic will “accelerate the development of the mindset of getting outside the hospitals, getting into the communities,” said Dr. Klausner and added that it focuses on providing patients with knowledge and tools to prevent poor health outcomes.
With COVID-19 vaccination, there was rightly a huge focus on “addressing any misunderstandings and historical mistrust,” he said. Sitting down to have equally honest conversations can help “empower communities not only to deal with the diabetes they have, but to prevent it in the first place. “
Join the movement of clinicians – such as Dr. Klausner – who is already taking a stand and Take the pledge to DiabetesFreeNC.
That AMA Diabetes Prevention Guide supports physicians and healthcare organizations in defining and implementing evidence-based diabetes prevention strategies. This comprehensive and tailored approach helps clinical practices and healthcare organizations identify patients with pre-diabetes and manage the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, including referring patients to a national DPP lifestyle change program based on their individual needs.