NYC Minority Seniors Celebrate, Take Charge of Their Diabetes

NYC Minority Seniors Celebrate, Take Charge of Their Diabetes

Nearly 1,400 have Completed Diabetes Wellness Workshops; Goal is 2,500


BRONX, N.Y., Nov. 10, 2010 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — In honor of American Diabetes Month, more than 100 Latino and African-American New York City seniors will travel to the Bronx today to celebrate having “graduated” from Diabetes Wellness Workshops (DWW), and will learn how to continue to take charge of their diabetes. The event will mark a milestone for the DWW program, which uses evidence-based practices to help seniors manage their diabetes: nearly 1,400 City seniors have graduated. The goal of IPRO, the independent nonprofit that manages the program in New York, is to educate 2,500 seniors by August 2011.

New York City has been hit hard by diabetes, and minority and poor communities have been especially devastated. One in eight New York City residents has diabetes, nearly 60 percent of whom are African American or Latino. According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (1), diabetes incidence is highest in low income neighborhoods, and death rates for diabetes are highest among African-American and Latino New Yorkers and those living in the lowest-income neighborhoods. Diabetes has increased 13 percent in New York City since 2002.

“There is a strong need for educational programs that address this epidemic and help decrease diabetes-related disparities,” says Alan Silver, M.D., M.P.H., Medical Director, IPRO. “We are thankful that our partners have been able to help us work toward these objectives.”

Among IPRO’s partners in the Diabetes Wellness Workshops are the New York City Department for the Aging and New York City Housing Authority, which enable IPRO to hold multiple, ongoing workshops at senior centers and senior housing complexes throughout the five boroughs. The American Diabetes Association, another partner, helps refer workshop participants. Bilingual educational materials are provided through the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Take Care New York partnership. Representatives of all three organizations are expected to participate in today’s program, and will be honored for their critical support.

“It is fitting that we hold this event during American Diabetes Month, as we seek to bring Americans together to stop diabetes,” says Helene Velazquez, Associate Director, Latino Initiatives, American Diabetes Association of Greater New York. “We are proud to partner with IPRO in this effort.”

“Learning how to manage and cope with a chronic disease like diabetes can be a challenge, which is why we were glad to partner with IPRO to bring the Diabetes Wellness Workshops directly to senior centers,” says New York City Department for the Aging Commissioner Lilliam Barrios-Paoli. “This is just one initiative that is making this city more age-friendly and ensures older New Yorkers can continue to enjoy active, vibrant lives.”

The DWW program is part of a community-based initiative by the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) to address the diabetes epidemic among members of some minority groups. Workshops are free and open to all Medicare beneficiaries who have diabetes, while outreach efforts are geared toward African Americans and Latinos. IPRO, an independent nonprofit healthcare quality improvement organization (QIO), manages the New York DWW program for CMS. Six QIOs from throughout the United States are involved in this initiative.

“Diabetes Wellness Workshops empower people with diabetes to take charge of their disease,” says Janice Hidalgo-Melendez, DWW Project Manager. “With the support of our partners, we are using evidence-based approaches to help reduce disparities and improve the health of New Yorkers, one patient at a time.”

The Diabetes Wellness Workshop is a type of program known as diabetes self-management education (DSME). DSME addresses cultural, social and behavioral concerns of people with diabetes to help them better manage their own disease through planning and acquiring better coping skills. A free, six-week course, the DWW program is offered in English and Spanish at community locations throughout the five boroughs. Workshop sessions cover such topics as monitoring one’s body, physical activity and exercise, nutrition and diet, identifying and preventing complications, medications and medical care, and enlisting the support of family and friends. A recent report (2) recommended the further expansion of DSME classes in New York, as well as insurance reimbursement for those classes.

Today’s graduation program will be held at the Betances Community Center, 465 St. Ann Avenue, Bronx, NY. For information on IPRO’s free Diabetes Wellness Workshops, call 1-800-671-1841 or visit

About IPRO

IPRO is a national organization providing a full spectrum of healthcare assessment and improvement services that foster more efficient use of resources and enhance healthcare quality to achieve better patient outcomes. Founded in 1984, IPRO is highly regarded for the independence of its approach, the depth of its knowledge and experience, and the integrity of its programs. IPRO holds contracts with federal, state and local government agencies, as well as private-sector clients, operating best-of-class programs in more than 33 states and the District of Columbia. A national not-for-profit organization, IPRO is headquartered in Lake Success, NY and is a 501(c)(3) corporation.

This material was prepared by IPRO, the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for New York State, under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents do not necessarily reflect CMS policy. 9SOW-NY-THM7.1-10-59

(1) New York City Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene, “NYC Vital Signs,” November 2009.

(2) New York State Health Foundation and Healthcare Association of New York State, “Diabetes: A Hidden Health Care Cost Driver in New York,” October 2010.


NYC Minority Seniors Celebrate, Take Charge of Their Diabetes