American Indian and Alaska Native people have among the highest rates of diabetes in the country. The IHS Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) has supported and encouraged innovative interventions across the country to prevent and reduce diabetes, which the IHS says have “changed the diabetes landscape across the Indian health system.”
This year, SDPI is awarding approximately $137 million to 301 Tribes, Tribal organizations, Urban Indian organizations, and IHS facilities for programs to prevent and treat diabetes in American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs).
Based on local needs and priorities, the grant programs have increased access to diabetes services and helped improve key outcomes, the IHS says. For example, between 1997 and 2010 access to diabetes clinics rose from 31% to 71%, access to registered dietitians rose from 37% to 77%, and access to culturally tailored diabetes education programs from 36% to 99%.
Similarly, in the 13 years the program has been in existence, its results have seen “sustained achievements” in diabetes outcomes, such as declines in blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Between 1995 and 2006, the incident rate of end-stage renal disease in AI/AN people with diabetes fell by 27.7%—more than in any other racial or ethnic group.