Together on Diabetes-NYC: A Community Control Project for Seniors
- United Hospital Fund Provides $365,000 for Grants to Improve Health Servcies in New York City
- Community Partnership Launched in Washington Heights and Inwood to Benefit Seniors with Diabetes
- United Hospital Fund's Fredda Vladeck Receives M. Powell Lawton Quality of Life Award for Transforming Communities into Good Places to Grow Old
Together on Diabetes-NYC is a community program in Washington Heights/Inwood to help seniors with diabetes to live well by gaining or maintaining control of their diabetes and minimizing the risks of serious complications.
The United Hospital Fund, with grant support from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, has organized a wide variety of community partners in Washington Heights/Inwood—senior service programs, health care providers, faith-based organizations, and businesses—to develop this first-of-its-kind diabetes program specifically focused on seniors.
Launched in May 2012, Together on Diabetes-NYC will enroll at least 1,000 seniors with diabetes living in Washington Heights/Inwood. The project's goal is to demonstrate that this community partnership, with the wide supports it offers, is reducing diabetes-related hospital encounters and improving the HgbA1C levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol values of participating seniors.
Once enrolled in Together on Diabetes-NYC, seniors are connected to a variety of programs and services near their homes, including educational and support groups, cooking classes, individual coaching, and exercise classes. Together on Diabetes-NYC will provide ongoing support to participating seniors to help them achieve their individual goals. Using a secure, private database, it will also monitor their progress over time, including how many, and which type, of project-sponsored activities they have participated in. The project staff will provide information about the enrolled seniors’ levels of participation back to their personal physicians.
Seniors can be referred to the program by anyone in the community—primary care physician practices or clinics, senior service agencies, religious leaders, self-referral, friends or relatives. (The project’s phone number is 1-855-585-5888; its website address is www.togetherondiabetesnyc.org.)
Partners, Sponsors, Funders
Together on Diabetes-NYC is sponsored by United Hospital Fund, which received a three-year, $2.8 million grant to support the program from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation as part of the Foundation’s national effort to tackle diabetes called Together on Diabetes: Communities Uniting to Meet America’s Diabetes Challenge.
The program includes a broad partnership of community, health care, faith-based, and civic organizations, as well as pharmacies and other local businesses. In addition, the New York City Department for the Aging and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, both long concerned about diabetes, are working closely with the Together on Diabetes-NYC project, which, if successful, could be replicated in the other communities throughout New York City. See the current list of partners.
Selection of the First Community—Washington Heights/Inwood
The Washington Heights/Inwood community (between West 163rd Street and West 191st Street) was chosen for the Together on Diabetes-NYC program for a variety of reasons. First, Washington Heights/Inwood has a high prevalence of seniors with diabetes. According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene estimates, more than a quarter of seniors (age 60+) in the community have diabetes. These seniors (approximately 10,000) accounted for more than 4,500 hospital encounters (either an emergency room visit or an inpatient hospitalization) in 2008, with diabetes the primary diagnosis. Second, this community has a strong senior-serving network through which many services can be provided. And finally, diabetes is already recognized as an important issue in the community, and health care providers, a range of community organizations, and relevant city agencies are committed to forging working partnerships.
Contact: Fredda Vladeck