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TODAY news for Thursday, June 9, 2008

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Catalina Islanders receive diabetes education through LLU telehealth

Nathan Painter, PharmD
Nathan Painter, PharmD
Patients at Catalina Island Medical Center (CIMC) received diabetes education through a partnership with Loma Linda Uni­versity and its telehealth initi­ative. “It is rewarding to use our telehealth network to educate patients. This has been a primary objective of our public health approach to telehealth,” explains Billy Hughes, PhD, dean, School of Pharmacy and principal investigator of the telehealth initiative.

Diabetes affects the diverse California population unevenly. For example, African Americans are 60 percent more likely to have the condition than Caucasians, and Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans are twice as likely to have the condition as Caucasians. The California Rural Indian Health Board considers diabetes “the single most important threat to the health of Native Americans.”

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders reports that nearly one-third of those afflicted with diabetes do not know they have the condition.

The patients in attendance all enjoyed the class, and they each stated they learned a lot from Nathan Painter, PharmD, certified diabetic educator and assistant professor in the department of pharmacotherapy and outcomes science at the School of Pharmacy, notes Dawn Sampson, director of grants and social services for the CIMC.

“They are planning on attending the future classes. Our nurse practitioner was also impressed with the material presented and the participant interaction via teleconferencing. Having learned from this first bilingual class in Spanish and English, we are expanding our patient invitation. We are also taking time to explain to patients the benefits of bringing a support person to class.”

CIMC thanked Dr.  Painter for identifying and providing excellent instruction for this class series, and they look forward to future classes.

This project was made possible by a grant from UniHealth Foundation, which helped Loma Linda University partner with Catalina Island Medical Center to implement a diabetes screening and care management project through the use of telemedicine. UniHealth Foundation is a Los Angeles-based non-profit philanthropic organization whose mission is to support and facilitate activities that significantly improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities within its service area.

“When we approached the UniHealth Foundation in 2006, we indicated their funds would be utilized to provide retinal screening for patients at risk for diabetes at the only hospital on Catalina Island, and to deliver diabetes education to patients in their native languages,” explained Paul B. Simms, MPH, director of the telehealth initiative and assistant professor in the School of Public Health. “By reaching communities in their own languages, we reflect cultural competency that will stimulate more persistent behavior change—thereby ensuring patient success.”

Contributed report

TODAY news for Thursday, June 9, 2008