Azmina, a Hurricane Harvey survivor with a family history of diabetes, uses her phone to communicate with a personal health coach as part of a new diabetes prevention program Americares is offering at the Ibn Sina Foundation Clinic in Houston. Photo by Annie Mulligan/Americares.
Stamford, Conn.— Oct. 10, 2018—Americares has launched a new digital diabetes prevention program to improve the health of low-income patients in hurricane-impacted communities. The health-focused relief organization is partnering with digital medicine company Omada Health to enroll Texas patients from free clinics in a year-long diabetes prevention program.
“Untreated chronic disease in the aftermath of a major disaster can lead to a health crisis. Oftentimes hurricane survivors prioritize repairing damaged homes or relocating over protecting their health,” said Americares Vice President of U.S. Programs and Partnerships Lindsay O’Brien. “We are helping the most vulnerable patients avoid a diabetes diagnosis and prevent a medical emergency.”
One in six residents affected by Hurricane Harvey reported they, or someone in their household, experienced a new or worsening health condition since the storm, according to a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Episcopal Health Foundation. In addition, nearly a quarter of Harvey survivors reported their personal financial situation worsened due to the storm.
Three clinics in the Houston metro area—Ibn Sina Foundation in Houston, San Jose Clinic in Houston and TOMAGWA HealthCare Ministries in Tomball—have been selected to participate. More than 250 patients statewide will benefit, including 150 free clinic patients in Houston.
Omada is the largest CDC-recognized provider of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, delivering a virtual program that can be accessed from an individual’s computer, laptop or smartphone. Multiple peer-reviewed studies demonstrate the ability of the Omada Program to
reduce patients’ risk for Type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Participants in the Omada Program are assigned a personal health coach, accessible through the company’s platform. They also receive support from a peer group, access to relevant lessons on nutrition, exercise and building health habits. All participants receive a digital scale automatically connected to their profile which helps track their weight loss. Omada health coaches monitor patients’ performance and work with them to meet their health goals. The Omada Program is the largest provider of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, with more than 185,000 participants enrolled to date.
Nationwide, more than 100 million people have diabetes or pre-diabetes—about one-third of the population. Patients diagnosed with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or stroke—and at an earlier age—according to the CDC. Adults who are overweight, over age 45, have a family history of diabetes and are physically active less than three times a week are most at risk.
“Omada’s mission is to inspire and empower people everywhere to live free of chronic disease,” said Omada co-founder and CEO Sean Duffy. “That means designing a program that can help people from diverse backgrounds, and even those facing difficult circumstances. Working with Americares on this project is our mission in action.”
Americares Hurricane Harvey Recovery Program is meeting survivors’ health needs in storm-damaged communities across Houston and southeast Texas. An Americares emergency response team arrived in Texas as the storm was approaching and has since established a base of operations in Houston to oversee its relief and recovery programs. To date, Americares has provided Hurricane Harvey survivors with more than $13 million in aid, including medicine and supplies, health programs, mental health programs and disaster preparedness boot camps.
Americares helps communities prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters, increase access to medicine and medical supplies, improve and expand clinical services, prevent disease and promote good health.
Free clinics located in counties with federal disaster declarations were eligible to apply for the diabetes prevention program. The clinics selected all serve low-income and uninsured patients and have a large percentage of patients diagnosed with obesity, diabetes and hypertension.
“Our population’s health has worsened since the storm. At Ibn Sina clinics we have taken an intensive and collaborative approach to help patients, especially those at high risk for diabetes,” said Dr. Hina Azam, chief executive officer of the Ibn Sina Foundation in Houston. “It will take time and effort to assess the consequences of their missed treatment, but we will continue to explore new treatment and prevention options, including partnering with Americares and other organizations committed to helping the community recover.”
For more information about Americares Hurricane Harvey Recovery Program go to https://www.americares.org/en/what-we-do/emergency-programs/hurricane-harvey/