With an estimated 10,000 undiagnosed diabetics living in Genesee County, it was appropriate that Flint was chosen as one of 10 communities to pilot a federal Health and Human Services program to screen and identify undiagnosed diabetics. Called “Diabetes Detection Initiative: Finding the Undiagnosed,” the project used a risk assessment tool to help determine a person’s likelihood of developing diabetes. Those who were identified as being at risk were referred for follow-up. The initiative kicked off in November 2003 with a high-profile news conference featuring both the United States and Michigan Surgeons General.
The Diabetes Detection Initiative was developed utilizing two components: (1) a broad-based community effort to encourage individuals to determine their risk for undiagnosed diabetes using a customized paper risk assessment tool (adapted from the American Diabetes Association) and if at high-risk, give them clear messages regarding referral to a health care site for appropriate blood testing; (2) a more intensive effort to identify and diagnose those with undetected diabetes.
Early detection and treatment of diabetes can make a critical difference in avoiding serious complications such as eye, kidney, and cardiovascular disease—yet people often live with diabetes for seven to ten years before being diagnosed. The Coalition is proud to have taken a lead role in organizing and implementing this important community health effort.