Inaugural Health Disparities Summit Spotlights Diabetes’ Toll on Minority Groups

Aaron Lohr
Director, Media Relations
Phone: (240) 482-1380
Email: alohr@endo-society.org

Jenni Glenn Gingery
Manager, Media Relations
Phone: (301) 941-0240
Email: jgingery@endo-society.org

 Endocrine Society event brings together physicians, scientists to address patient needs

Chevy Chase, MD –– More than 75 health professionals, researchers and policymakers gathered to explore better ways to treat and prevent diabetes in minority groups during The Endocrine Society’s inaugural Reducing Health Disparities summit on March 23-24.

Although type 2 diabetes can strike anyone, the disease takes a particularly heavy toll on minority groups. Type 2 diabetes is at least twice as common among African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and South Asian Americans as the disease is among Caucasians, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Some minority groups face a higher risk of serious complications, including kidney failure.

“Eighty percent of The Endocrine Society’s physician members treat patients with diabetes, so we see firsthand how devastating this condition can be to families and communities,” said Society Past President Janet E. Hall, MD. “The Endocrine Society created the Health Disparities Initiative to bring together thought leaders, point-of-care professionals and patients who have diabetes to find effective ways to reduce the impact the disease has on minority and disadvantaged populations.” 

The summit drew participants from the American Medical Association, the National Medical Association, the American Diabetes Association and the Pan American/World Health Organization. Also taking part in the conversation were policymakers from AHRQ, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities, both at the National Institutes of Health.

Louis Sullivan, former Department of Health and Human Services Secretary and President Emeritus of the Morehouse School of Medicine, participated in the closing panel. Diabetes Hands Foundation President and Co-Founder Manny Hernandez gave the keynote on using social media to reduce health disparities.

“The summit demonstrated the importance of research in revealing the extent of the problem of health disparities in diabetes and in determining the optimal treatment strategies to prevent the side effects of this disease. It also generated important new ideas to improve the quality of life for people who have diabetes,” Hall said. “By bringing together key stakeholders for a thoughtful discussion, we are raising the bar for quality care.”

The Endocrine Society plans to hold future events to address health disparities that affect patients with other hormone conditions.

To follow or participate in the ongoing discussion on Twitter, use the hashtag #endosummit.

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Founded in 1916, The Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest, largest and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology.  Today, The Endocrine Society’s membership consists of over 16,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in more than 100 countries. Society members represent all basic, applied and clinical interests in endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is based in Chevy Chase, Maryland. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at www.endo-society.org. Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/EndoMedia.