SororsCaring Takes Diabetes Prevention to Washington, D.C

Article excerpt

ON A Wednesday morning this past June, nearly 20 District of Columbia residents--mostly women--gathered at a southwest D.C. neighborhood library to learn how to prevent diabetes. During the two-hour program, created under APHA's new SororsCaring initiative, participants learned what causes type 2 diabetes and how to prevent, control or delay the disease through lifestyle changes that include a healthy diet and exercise.

The program concluded with a brunch of healthy snacks and an opportunity for participants to ask questions and gather information about diabetes to share with their families.

In addition to raising awareness of type 2 diabetes, the program drew attention to SororsCaring, a diabetes education program launched in August 2006 to pave the way for diabetes prevention, education and management through sorority sisterhood.

Using a train-the-trainer approach, SororsCaring identifies and trains representatives, or "champions," from national historically black sororities that are leaders in community service, such as Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Sigma Gamma Rho and Zeta Phi Beta, as well as representatives from other organizations such as Chi Eta Phi, a nursing sorority. The champions undergo comprehensive diabetes education and prevention training, which they will take back to their families and communities.

"Black women experience one of the highest rates of type 2 diabetes," said Mighty Fine, MPH, APHA's public health analyst. "SororsCaring is an ideal approach for reaching black women particularly, but could be used to address diabetes among all women."

APHA member Ndidi Amutah, MPH, a member of the Beta Zeta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta sorority, planned the diabetes awareness program at the D.C. library in June with resources from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the National Diabetes Education Program.

"Our goal was to educate the community and raise awareness of diabetes and the fact that there are huge health disparities among members of the African-American community," said Ndidi, a doctoral student at the University of Maryland in College Park. …