April 8, 2011

The toll of diabetes continues to grow in New York—affecting one out of every 12 adult State residents—and it has had a particularly high impact on Brooklyn. More than 164,000 Brooklyn residents currently suffer from diabetes, with nearly 7,000 people hospitalized for the disease every year. Low-income, minority communities like Bedford Stuyvesant-Crown Heights, Flatbush-East Flatbush, and Williamsburg-Bushwick are among the hardest hit borough-wide.

The event was part of NYHealth’s statewide Diabetes Campaign and was cosponsored by Preferred Health Partners, an NYHealth grantee. Speakers at the event included Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz; NYHealth President and CEO James Knickman; Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Yvonne Graham; Brooklyn resident and diabetes patient Denzil Botus; NYHealth Senior Program Director Jacqueline Martinez; Chairman of the Board Preferred Health Partners Dr. Lesly Kernisant; and 57th District Brooklyn Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries.

The panel discussed a range of issues, including the extent and gravity the disease’s impact in Brooklyn; ways doctors can improve patient outcomes; the cultural and socioeconomic concerns that need to be addressed in order to successfully combat the epidemic; and what kind of community involvement is necessary.

At the event, NYHealth offered ways for the community to combat the disease, including information on its Meeting the Mark: Achieving Excellence in Diabetes Care program to support physicians who commit to providing high-quality care for their patients with diabetes; NYHealth Diabetes Campaign technical assistance; and community programs such as the Foundation’s YMCA and faith-based initiatives.

The audience also had the opportunity to ask the panel questions, share their experiences on the effects of diabetes in their communities, and suggest ways that local leaders and health care providers could work together more effectively.

The New York State Senate passed a resolution commending the Foundation and Preferred Health Partners for hosting the event and for their efforts in fighting Brooklyn’s diabetes epidemic.

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