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Preventive Medicine grant support furthers UTSW diabetes screening effort

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Dr. Michael Bowen

Dr. Michael Bowen is determined to derail trouble for the tens of millions of Americans who are dealing with Type 2 diabetes and its precursors.

Now, with support from the American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM), the Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern will work to more accurately identify at-risk patients with prediabetes or the Type 2 condition and steer them into proactive community programs.

One of the biggest challenges in referring patients to diabetes prevention programs is getting referrals to bridge from health systems to community-based programs, Dr. Bowen said. With this support, we hope to leverage health system infrastructure at Parkland Memorial Hospital to identify prediabetes patients and to establish referral pathways to a community-based diabetes prevention at the Baylor Scott & White Health and Wellness Center at the Juanita J. Craft Recreation Center.

The ACPM, in collaboration with the American Medical Association and the Black Women’s Health Imperative, selected UT Southwestern/Baylor Scott & White, plus two other institutions to receive renewable annual grants of $25,000 for up to three years to develop new practice-setting models for addressing the national Type 2 diabetes epidemic. The three grantees will form the cornerstone of the collaboration’s efforts to address prediabetes in vulnerable populations, with a priority on African American and Hispanic women. Dr. Bowen’s co-Investigator on the project is Dr. Heather Kitzman-Carmichael of Baylor.

UTSW’s initiative will expand on existing efforts to use electronic health record (EHR) information at Parkland to identify vulnerable populations for screening using a prediabetes risk score.

These patients will be screened for diabetes, and those who have prediabetes will be added to our registry, Dr. Bowen said. Hispanic and black women with high-risk prediabetes will be referred to a prevention program designed to delay or prevent the transition from prediabetes to diabetes through lifestyle change and addressing social determinants of health.

According to the CDC, more than 30 million Americans – about one in every 10 – have diabetes, and more than 90 percent of those have Type 2 diabetes. In prediabetes, which an estimated 84 million U.S. adults have, only 11.6 percent know they have it. A 2017 CDC study reported that Native Americans have the highest rates of diagnosed diabetes (15.1 percent), while blacks (12.7 percent) and Hispanics (12.1 percent) also were well above the rates seen in Asians and whites (8 and 7.4 percent, respectively).

Parkland has a lot of patients with prediabetes who are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, Dr. Bowen said. This is a unique example of a partnership across health systems to improve the health of the community.

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