SEARHC hosts diabetes awareness events in November

November 04 2010

The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Health Promotion, Diabetes and Lifestyle Balance programs are hosting numerous events around the region in November for National Diabetes Awareness Month. The three SEARHC programs are partnering with local health advocates and health promotion programs to bring awareness to a disease that has a growing impact on Alaska Natives and American Indians. Alaska Natives and American Indians have some of the highest rates of diabetes for any ethnic group in the United States, and research has shown that people with Type 2 diabetes can improve their control of diabetes through increased physical activity and healthy eating habits. Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are above normal. “Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes, and about one-third of the people with diabetes do not even know they have it until they are faced with a serious health problem,” SEARHC Diabetes Program Manager Maybelle Filler said. To learn if you are at risk for diabetes, ask yourself these questions:
  • Do you have a parent, brother or sister with Type 2 diabetes?
  • Do you exercise fewer than five times a week for at least 30 minutes at a time?
  • Have you been diagnosed with gestational diabetes?
  • Have you been told you have prediabetes or impaired glucose tolerance?
  • Is your Body Mass Index (BMI) in the obese category?
  • Do you smoke or chew tobacco?
If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, then you may be at risk for diabetes and should be checked. Early detection and simple lifestyle changes can help delay or reduce the complications from diabetes, such as heart disease, kidney disease, blindness and foot amputations. “Also for people living with diabetes, we’d like to remind them of their ABC’s — A1c levels (hemoglobin A1c levels are the average blood sugar levels for the past 2-3 months), blood pressure and cholesterol. These ABC’s should be checked on a regular basis,” Filler said. “For people with prediabetes it is important to keep blood pressure and cholesterol within normal range. Both groups of people should have regular medical appointments.” During the month of November, SEARHC and its community partners will host several events to help people learn more about diabetes or be screened. All community members are invited to the events. For more information, please contact the person listed for each community. SITKA, Health Educator Renae Mathson, 966-8797
  • Thursday, Nov. 18 — 10 a.m., food demonstration at AC Lakeside Grocery.
  • Saturday, Nov. 20 — Time TBA (after the Native American Heritage Month parade at 1:30 p.m.), health screenings at the Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi (Sitka Community House).
  • Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 22-23 — 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., digital storytelling training at the SEARHC At Kaník Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital computer classroom (training on how to use computers to tell personal stories with healthy messages).
  • Friday Nov. 26 — 10:30 a.m., children’s story hour book reading at Kettleson Memorial Library from the Eagle Book Series of children’s books about diabetes written for Alaska Natives and American Indians.
JUNEAU, Health Educator Kathy Dennis, 364-4453
  • Tuesday, Nov. 2 — 5 p.m., class on using less fat in your cooking at Chez Alaska Cooking School for Lifestyle Balance program students (for people living with prediabetes and high risk for diabetes), another class being scheduled.
  • All month — Diabetes information displays at the SEARHC Ethel Lund Medical Center, includes information about the diabetes, diabetes prevention and nutrition programs, with a weekly focus on different topics such as physical activity, healthy eating and getting ready for the holidays.
KAKE, Community Wellness Advocate Georgie Davis-Gastelum, 785-6516
  • Monday, Nov. 8 — 2:30 p.m. at Kake High School parking lot, Honoring Our Veterans/Diabetes Awareness Walk.
  • All Mondays — noon, Honoring the Gift of Heart Health at SEARHC Kake Health Center conference room, information sessions about heart disease and diabetes awareness.
  • All Wednesdays — 5:30 p.m., Lifestyle Balance program classes at the SEARHC Kake Health Center conference room about how to prevent diabetes for people living with prediabetes or at high risk for diabetes.
  • All Thursdays — 7 p.m., adult craft night at the Gastelum residence with information sessions about diabetes awareness, in honor of Native American Heritage Month most craft projects are Native drums, shakers and beadwork.
HAINES/KLUKWAN, Community Wellness Advocate Mandy Ramsey, 766-6317
  • All month — information display about diabetes awareness at the SEARHC Haines Health Center and the SEARHC Klukwan Health Center.
PRINCE OF WALES ISLAND, Diabetes Educator Julie Sturtevant, RN, 755-4975
  • Friday, Nov. 5 — noon, lunch-and-learn at the Kasaan Community Center where people will learn about diabetes awareness and the Diabetes Education in Tribal Schools (DETS) program.
  • Friday and Saturday, Nov. 12-13 — 1-4 p.m. on Nov. 12, 8 a.m. to noon on Nov. 13, Craig Health Fair at Craig High School.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 16, and Thursday, Nov. 18 — 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., diabetes specialty clinic at the SEARHC Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock where people with diabetes can be seen by a doctor, diabetes nurse case manager, registered dietitian, podiatrist and dentist.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 17 — 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., diabetes specialty clinic at the SEARHC Hydaburg Health Center where people with diabetes can be seen by a doctor, diabetes nurse case manager, registered dietitian, podiatrist and dentist.
  • Thursday, Nov. 18 — 5:30 p.m., nutrition demonstration at Craig Head Start.
For more information about diabetes, go to, or