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For Release:
March 19, 2008

Heather Howard

For Further Information Contact:
S. Patricia Cabrera
(609) 984-7160
Hollie Gilroy, HINJ
(908) 212-0333
Jose Perez, LLA NJ
(732) 349-0400

Public Health Challenge Addressed by First Latino Diabetes Summit


Piscataway, NJ - - Experienced medical professionals and educators presented key topics in the areas of prevention, access to care and treatment of diabetes in the Latino community, with an emphasis on cultural competence. 

The state’s first Latino diabetes summit:  Diabetes Care:  Prevention and Treatment in New Jersey’s Latino Community at Rutgers University’s Busch Campus Center is a collaboration of the Healthcare Institute of New Jersey (HINJ), the Latino Leadership Alliance (LLA NJ) and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJ DHSS).

“Diabetes is problem that is quickly approaching an epidemic in our society,” said Governor Jon S. Corzine. “We must turn around the trends we’ve been witnessing, especially among the Latino community, many of whom can ill-afford the additional health-care costs of diabetes treatment and care.”

“It is our hope that the first Latino diabetes summit brings an increased awareness of the burden of diabetes in the Latino community and draws attention to tangible improvements in prevention and provides direction for actions,” said New Jersey Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard.  “As members of the healthcare community we must think outside the box when providing access to quality healthcare and diabetes management.  We encourage everyone to incorporate best practices as the basis for diabetes management decision making.

“Diabetes is a serious, lifelong condition, but there’s a lot we can do to prevent and manage this disease—not only for today, but for the coming years.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s data indicates that six percent of Hispanic adults in the United States and Puerto Rico have been diagnosed with diabetes.  According to the NJ Department of Health’s The Burden of Diabetes in New Jersey:  A Surveillance Report – 2005 diabetes is one of the fastest growing health issues facing New Jersey citizens.  The Department’s Strategic Plan to Eliminate Health Disparities in NJ 2007 further reports that although mortality rates for diabetes have been decreasing among whites and Asian/Pacific Islanders they are increasing among blacks and Hispanics.  These numbers are compounded by Census 2000 data that suggests that the Hispanic population in New Jersey is younger than the rest of the state and that Spanish is the foreign language most frequently spoken in New Jersey.

“Today, we bring together some of the best and brightest medical professionals and experts to discuss how best to combat the diabetes epidemic in the Latino community. While today’s summit is an important milestone in our outreach, our commitment to this project does not begin and end with the summit.  At its conclusion, we will walk away with an important tool kit that will help us continue the dialogue, reaching out to the Latino community with many post-summit activities designed to build awareness,” said Bob Franks, president, HealthCare Institute of New Jersey.

Concurrent track breakout sessions conducted by health care professionals in partnership with nonprofit, government and corporate partners delivered vital and relevant programs on the management of diabetes.  Workshop tracks included:  Prevention and Access, Treatment, Community Health Care Workers Forum and a Leadership Forum.  The summit also made available continuing education credits, CME through UMDNJ’s Center for Continuing and Outreach Education. 

Different medical and community alliances, led by HINJ and LLA NJ were formed through community forums with medical associations.  LLA NJ conducted community meetings in order to engage Hispanic leaders in the process of education, outreach and advocacy.

“This summit is a great achievement. The next challenge for our partnership is to create the necessary and innovative programs to give continuity to this effort and remain engaged with the Latino community so that we can reverse the growing threat that diabetes presents to our people", said Martin Perez, President of the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey.  

This comprehensive professional seminar on diabetes with teaching strategies sought as its objectives to:

·         Describe key cultural factors and issues related to the care of diabetes within the Latino community

·         Discuss diabetes risk factors, symptoms, screening, prevention guidance and treatment.

·         Discuss strategies in diabetes self-management and empowerment

·         Assess the course of action as a patient’s health care team is formed

·         Discuss emerging technologies in diabetes care

The summit’s partnership brought together leading health experts on diabetes, including keynote speaker Dr. Richard Carmona , 17th Surgeon General of the United States who discussed “Preventing Chronic Disease in all our Communities”; Dr. Enrique Caballero Director of the Latino Diabetes Initiative at the Joslin Diabetes Center who spoke of the importance of “Cultural Competence in Diabetes Care:  An Urgent Need, along with Dr. William Rowley, COO and Senior Futurist of The Institute for Alternate Futures, presenter of projections of diabetes in all communities.


“My abuelita ruled the kitchen, and every dish she made started with a big scoop of lard from the can at the back of the refrigerator. Her meals were muy sabroso, but now we know that we can have the delicious tastes without adding the fat,” said Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, 17th Surgeon General of the United States (2002-2006), chairperson of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, and president of the non-profit Canyon Ranch Institute.


“We must increase Americans’ health literacy, including in our Latino communities – where overweight and obesity are contributing to the rise in Type 2 diabetes that is robbing Latinos of their health and even their lives. Preventable and poorly managed chronic diseases damage Latinos’ quality of life and cause health care costs to skyrocket. The New Jersey Latino Diabetes Summit is an excellent example of a community-based approach designed to give families, communities, policymakers, business leaders, and health care professionals the information to lead healthier lives.”

Dr. Enrique Caballero Director of the Latino Diabetes Initiative at the Joslin Diabetes Center said, “Because diabetes has an earlier onset in Latinos than in other populations having an identified source of healthcare and understanding self management of diabetes to sustain a healthy life style is crucial.  As health care providers we can contribute to the elimination of this health disparity by promoting a culturally and linguistically appropriate message along with a health care program covering medications and glucose monitoring.”

About Latino Leadership Alliance, LLA NJ:  In 1999, four hundred Latino leaders from diverse organizations across the State of New Jersey convened a conference at Rutgers University that concluded in the creation of the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey.  Members of LLANJ join together to create one voice for Latinos in New Jersey.  In representing Latino parents, primary and secondary educators, community leaders, law enforcement, health care professionals, religious leaders, immigrant groups, student leaders and business professionals, LLA NJ recognizes how our various needs interconnect and work as a collective unit to shape the role of Latinos in New Jersey. 

About the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey, HINJ:  The HealthCare Institute of New Jersey is a trade association for the research-based pharmaceutical and medical technology industry in New Jersey. Founded in 1997, the Institute serves as a unified voice for the industry and seeks to build awareness of this industry’s impact on New Jersey’s quality of life and economic well-being. There are currently 22 members of the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey


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