Community Partnership Launched in Washington Heights and Inwood to Benefit Seniors with Diabetes
From left: Mark Kator, Amanda Parsons, MD, Fredda Vladeck, Patricia Doykos, Jim Tallon, Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, Fern Hertzberg, Tracey Sokoloff, and Rosa Rosen at the Together on Diabetes launch
Community, health care, faith-based, and civic organizations joined forces today under the umbrella of Together on Diabetes, a new community partnership in Washington Heights and Inwood to help seniors (60 and over) with diabetes to live well. The partnership was launched at a community event held in Washington Heights.
Attended by leaders from the community and city government, as well as many seniors, the event provided opportunities for seniors to enroll in the program and community leaders, organizations, and businesses to enlist as program partners.
“Together on Diabetes is a game changer; it’s the first-ever community diabetes program designed specifically for seniors,” said Fredda Vladeck, director of the Aging in Place Initiative at United Hospital Fund, which has designed the Together on Diabetes project, with major grant support from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. “We are working with partners throughout the community so that seniors who have diabetes can take advantage of the community resources available to them—in a coordinated way. With just one phone call, seniors in Washington Heights and Inwood can start to be connected and on their way to better managing their health. Together on Diabetes will connect medical care with a range of vital community supports.”
At the launch event, held at Isabella Geriatric Center, one of the partners in Together on Diabetes, attendees were entertained by a dance performance by the Step Team for Social Justice and a cooking demonstration by City Harvest. Speakers included Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, commissioner for the New York City Department for the Aging; Patricia Doykos, PhD, director of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation; Fern Hertzberg, co-chair of the Washington Heights and Inwood Council on Aging; Mark Kator, president and CEO of Isabella Geriatric Center; Amanda Parsons, MD, deputy commissioner for the Division of Health Care Access & Improvement, New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene; Rosa Rosen, team manager for Together on Diabetes; and Ms. Vladeck.
When enrolled in Together on Diabetes, seniors are connected to one or more services near their homes, including educational and support groups, cooking classes, individual coaching, and exercise classes. Organizations and businesses can participate in a range of ways, including by providing services, raising awareness of the program throughout Washington Heights and Inwood, helping local seniors get connected to the program, and sharing their ideas about what is needed or ways to improve the program.
Together on Diabetes will provide ongoing support to participating seniors to help them achieve their individual goals. It will also monitor their progress over time, which will guide how to work with each senior individually, as well as demonstrate what program components are most effective.
“The Department for the Aging is proud to be part of this important public-private partnership that uses such a comprehensive approach to mobilizing community support in the fight against diabetes,” said Department for the Aging Commissioner Lilliam Barrios-Paoli. “The successful delivery of services is in part based on the inclusion of partners from different fields that can fulfill the disparate needs of older adults. Together on Diabetes gives seniors the benefit of having many different resources upon which to draw in order to manage this disease.”
“It’s exciting to collaborate with the wide range of community members throughout Washington Heights and Inwood who are committed to helping seniors with diabetes,” said Dr. J. Emilio Carrillo, vice president, Community Health Development, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital . “NewYork-Presbyterian's Regional Health Collaborative and Ambulatory Care Network are leaders and innovators in community health and the care of people with diabetes, and the hospital has decades of community service throughout northern Manhattan. For those reasons, this project is a natural fit for NewYork-Presbyterian, and our patients.”
Seniors can register to participate—and everyone can get more information—by calling the program’s toll-free number, 1-855-585-5888, or by visiting its website, www.togetherondiabetesnyc.org. Information is available in both English and Spanish.
While diabetes is a national problem—8.3 percent of all the children and adults in the United States have diabetes—it’s an even bigger problem among the seniors of Washington Heights and Inwood, where 26.4 percent have the chronic disease.
About the United Hospital Fund: The United Hospital Fund is a health services research and philanthropic organization whose primary mission is to shape positive change in health care for the people of New York.
About Together on Diabetes: Together on Diabetes is a community partnership in Washington Heights and Inwood. Sponsored by the United Hospital Fund with support from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, this partnership includes community, health care, faith-based, and civic organizations, as well as pharmacies and other local businesses. To see the growing list of participants, please visit the website, www.togetherondiabetesnyc.org.