CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In response to the July 1 article "The Shape We're In: Logan will fight diabetes," I feel that Gina Wood and the West Virginia Diabetes Prevention and Control Program were unfairly and inaccurately portrayed.
The West Virginia Diabetes Prevention and Control Program receives funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the CDC mandates how and where the funding can be distributed. What was not mentioned in the article is that the program partners with Marshall University's Center for Rural Health to provide organizations and leaders with diabetes and chronic disease self-management training who then in turn take the knowledge back to their communities and offer this service, improving the health of those who choose to participate.
For the past five years I have personally been involved with a program that is funded by the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program. Roane County Family Health Care, a federally qualified health center, has partnered with West Virginia University, Office of Health Services Research and the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program to use the planned care model to improve the quality of care we provide to our diabetic patients. The assistance our health center has received from both partners has improved the health and has decreased the mortality and complication rate of the diabetic members or our community.
With the assistance of the WVU Office of Health Services Research, Roane County Family Health Care has the ability to capture the data relating to a diabetic's long-term sugar control, whether they have received an eye exam or a foot check in the last year, whether the patient set a self-management goal to empower them to care for their disease and much more. Without the data that WVU and the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program assist us in capturing, we as a practice would not know if we were providing these services consistently and we would not know if we were impacting our patients' health in a positive way.
I have been a nurse for 20 years, and I have found that if someone wants information about a health topic badly enough, they will seek it out. The reason for not getting education about a health condition, particularly diabetes, because they don't know where to look, is a cop-out.
Even before the Internet, county libraries had numerous books about diabetes, high blood pressure and numerous other conditions. A patient's primary-care provider can answer questions, if asked, and all offices have chronic disease educational materials.
Now we have the Internet, which can be accessed free at most local libraries. My point is that we cannot hold the hand of each and every person that has a chronic disease. They must take some responsibility for their illness and also its treatment.
During the 20 years I have been involved in health care, I have witnessed coalitions and community projects come and go. They are not financially sustainable. The members of this community have become indifferent to coalitions and community projects because they have determined that there is no point in becoming involved in a program that is not going to be there in a year or two when the funding runs out. There have been so many coalitions and community programs spring up and then end that there is no way Ms. Wood and her department could have kept an accurate list.
The West Virginia Diabetes Prevention and Control Program is excellent in providing support and partnering with numerous organizations throughout the state, and despite how it was portrayed in the Sunday Gazette-Mail, the program has improved the health of diabetics in West Virginia.
White is a registered nurse and director of quality improvement at Roane County Family Health Care in Spencer.