Pooling Resources to Prevent Diabetes
Liz Blodgett
Washington Rural Health Association Newsletter
May 15, 2008

Eastern Washington is primed to fight the growing diabetes epidemic.

With a Washington State Department of Health grant of almost $10,000 to continue their work, the Eastern Washington Diabetes Network (EWDN) has three laudable goals; to increase awareness of diabetes prevention strategies, strengthen the internal network of health care providers, researchers, and educators, and increase diabetes awareness and prevention education among health care providers and patients.

“We are excited about the grant,” says Jennifer Polello, the current leader of the EWDN and Health Education Manager for the Inland Northwest Health Services CHER Diabetes Education, formerly called O.C. Olson Diabetes Education Center. “We are hoping that we can make a bigger impact. We want to get to be the one stop shopping for diabetes awareness and prevention in our communities.”

The growing EWDN, which is like a diabetes resource clearinghouse, is currently comprised of more than 90 individuals from a variety of local and regional organizations who have teamed up to pool their resources, enabling professionals on all fronts to get patients across the region the best diabetes care and education.

This is especially important in the rural communities, says Polello, because research shows a higher than average prevalence of diabetes in many rural areas, yet this is where resources are stretched the thinnest.

“Our rural partners are getting hit harder by this,” she says. “EDWN started off as a Spokane-based network and we quickly realized that we had a problem in our rural communities. Now they know what resources are available. People know where to refer patients. They don’t have to be the expert in diabetes to take care of their patients. We have this network to assist.”

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