Friday, June 24, 2011

Revere HealthCare Center celebrates community health

Community honor: From left, Ambrosino, Pasinski, Carol Tye of the Revere School Committee, who works closely with Ambrosino, and Debra Jacobson, administrative director for the center

At this year’s annual Community Health Day, more than 70 guests gathered at the MGH Revere HealthCare Center to celebrate local community health efforts and learn about one of today’s most pressing health topics: diabetes.

Roger Pasinski, MD, director of the center, welcomed staff, patients and community members to the June 7 event and described the center’s ongoing efforts to promote the well-being of Revere residents. Providing an example of the center’s impact, Christine Goscila, FNP-BC, Diabetes Program coordinator, and Sophallina Tim, Diabetes Program coach, described an initiative designed specifically for diabetic Cambodian patients. Collaborating with the MGH Disparities Solutions Center and funded by the Tufts Health Plan Foundation, the program’s staff has worked with Cambodian patients to understand barriers to care and develop effective, culturally competent diabetes education and coaching.

David M. Nathan, MD, director of the MGH Diabetes Center and the Clinical Research Center, provided the keynote address, “Combating the Diabetes Epidemic.” Nathan shared research about the prevalence of diabetes in the United States and around the world, and how rates continue to rise. He noted that the current suggestion that 250 million have the disease may be an underestimate. For example, a recent study indicates that 92 million people have diabetes in China, not the 20 million previously thought. Nathan said the projection that 366 million will have the disease by 2030 also is an underestimate; the number is likely to be closer to 500 million. He emphasized that the best way to address the epidemic is through prevention and discussed established methods to decrease development by as much as 58 percent. For those who still develop diabetes –some 1.8 million new cases per year in the United States – treating them early on with appropriate medications and encouraging healthy lifestyle choices can reduce the serious complications associated with the disease.

The event came to a close with the presentation of the Community Health Award to Revere Mayor Thomas G. Ambrosino, who has supported many of the center’s programs. “I am very pleased to win this award,” says Ambrosino. “Mass General has been a great partner with the city of Revere throughout my tenure.”

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