Online Tool To Map Diabetes Impact Nationwide

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The phrase “diabetes epidemic” is used to describe the rising tide of diabetes in the United States, but few statistical analyses show the full scope of the disease. A new tool, called the US Diabetes Index (USDI), offers insight into the impact of diabetes on every facet of the nation’s health and well-being.

Launched March 15, 2011, by the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF), the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBC), and the CBC Health Braintrust, USDI is “a revolutionary tool to monitor diabetes in America,” according to the project’s companion Web site, USDIReport. com.

The index includes more than 30,000 maps, charts, and graphs showing the prevalence of diabetes, pre-diabetes, and uncontrolled diabetes in the United States. Data is segmented by geography, age, gender, and race— a tremendous help to public health experts, who are concerned with how these factors influence the progression of diabetes at every stage.

“Diabetes has geographical features to it,” explained Gary Puckrein, PhD, USDI developer and chief executive officer of NMQF, in a statement on the tool’s launch. “Blood glucose levels, prevalence, [and] rates of hospitalization vary by geography. USDI allows us to direct our resources to the most affected areas,” he said.

Because the data sets can be customized to a specific community, the tool’s benefits are not limited to organizers of national public health campaigns. Individual pharmacists can use information provided by the USDI to tailor diabetes management counseling interventions, for example.

Jaimie Davidson, MD, professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School, and a past council member for the Texas Department of Health, said such localized data “crystallize the problem unlike any other resource available and graphically illustrate the diabetes crisis.”

Pharmacists can experiment with the tool by mapping diabetes in their specific state, county, or zip code at http://phrmcyt.ms/fJHp5l.