In her advocacy for effective disease prevention and health promotion programs, U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., joined the Southeast Michigan Beacon Community (SEMBC) on February 22, 2012 to launch the “Fighting D in the D” campaign during a kickoff event, attended by over 225 guests, at the Westin Book Cadillac in downtown Detroit.
The event brought together state and local governments, health care systems, insurers, providers and consumer groups, along with major business and community leaders.
The “Fighting D in the D” campaign introduces txt4health, a personalized 14-week mobile health program, which will inform people about their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. SEMBC hosted a community roundtable, involving more than 35 health care and government leaders and the U.S. Surgeon General. Roundtable participants engaged in an open dialogue addressing the burden of diabetes in Detroit with a unified course.
“The diverse group of leaders gathered on February 22, 2012 speaks volumes about the shared desire to reduce the burden of diabetes through public health partnerships that strive to protect, preserve, and promote the health of the people of Michigan,” said Terrisca Des Jardins, director of SEMBC.
“The importance of prevention programs such as txt4health is underscored by the fact that diabetes continues to be a major public health challenge in the United States and Michigan.” According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, an estimated 700,000 Michigan adults have been diagnosed with diabetes, and another 365,000 have undiagnosed diabetes.
This means more than 1 million adults in Michigan are directly affected by this ever-growing epidemic. “There is so much that can be done to care for and prevent type 2 diabetes. The task before all of us is to take action and become involved,” said Ann Albright, Ph.D., R.D., director of the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. “Fighting D in the D provides a rally cry for Detroiters to make progress in combating this serious, yet preventable disease.”
This campaign is part of the Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement Program, an Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) grant program for communities to help build and strengthen health information technology infrastructure that supports clinical quality improvement and population health goals.
Voxiva, a global pioneer in interactive mobile health services, provides the technology behind txt4health. Txt4health is a free service, part of a pilot program that is only available in the greater Detroit, New Orleans, and Cincinnati areas.
“Txt4health is a powerful tool that can be used to educate people about health risks and help instill new, healthy habits in their daily routine,” said Scott Turske, communications manager at SEMBC. “Txt4health is one example of how we’re reaching out to Southeast Michigan, which in many cases has limited access to healthcare. If we can educate people to take preventive health measures, we can keep them healthier and also keep health care costs down.”
SEMBC is deploying a major media-awareness campaign with a micro-targeted component that includes unique, engaging grassroots marketing efforts in at-risk areas of the city. The “Fighting D in the D” campaign will feature a radio and television PSA takeover in addition to high-profile marketing street teams that will hit the streets of Metro Detroit communities.
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