"WINSTON-SALEM, NC -- Winston-Salem State University researchers have received a two-year $215,000 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) grant to work with Winston-Salem area churches to explore diabetes prevention in African-Americans age 18 and older.
The grant will fund the development of a faith-based initiative titled, “The HOSEA Project: Training, Equipping and Empowering Churches to Prevent Diabetes.” The research effort will be guided by WSSU researchers Dr. Dionne Roberts, associate professor in the Division of Nursing and Dr. Dee Ellis, assistant professor in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Sport Studies (HPSS). Together the team will work to prevent Type-2 diabetes (adult-onset) in African-Americans. Dr. Cynthia Williams Brown, chair of the Department of HPSS will also serve on the project.
The project officially kicks-off this month as November is National Diabetes Month. Project partners include over 14 African-American Churches in the Winston-Salem vicinity.
The aim of the HOSEA Project is to prevent diabetes in African-Americans adults (age 18 and up) by offering a 6-month intervention program modified from the National Diabetes Prevention Program or a 12-week community wellness program. Both programs will include weekly exercise schedules and requires the participants to attend educational seminars.
The program will also provide participants with complimentary health screenings and incentives for the completion of all required program activities. Partner churches will receive a stipend for participating.
“The HOSEA Project is a faith-based and culturally-tailored program designed to equip churches to prevent the devastating effects of diabetes” said Roberts. “Our hope is to provide evidence that our intervention can be an affordable, effective model to combat diabetes in our communities.”
Diabetes is a devastating disease and considered a major health threat affecting nearly 26 million Americans. It is estimated that another 79 million Americans have prediabetes, which means almost one-third of the total U.S. population is affected by diabetes. The disease is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, costing an estimated at $245 billion per year.
Diabetes is a serious health problem that the African-American community faces today. African-Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities have a higher prevalence of diabetes and also have higher rates of complications.
“Our health initiative is purposely named “The HOSEA Project” based on the scripture Hosea 4:6 “my people perish for a lack of knowledge” said Roberts.
“African-American churches have historically served as community anchors functioning beyond spiritual guidance and social support, often times leading community outreach programs with health education as a major component. Our goal is to utilize the African-American church to address diabetes prevention in the African-American communities by training pastors and congregants to educate and empower others.”
Prediabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetic. People with prediabetes are at a higher risk for developing Type 2-diabetes. They are also at an increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease.
“A healthy diet and staying physically active is the most effective way to combat the onset of diabetes. However, we know that developing these lifestyle habits is a challenge for a lot of people. That’s why interventions like these that are affordable and culturally tailored are so important to the ongoing efforts to prevent diabetes” said Ellis.
This marks the third funding cycle CMS has awarded WSSU. CMS has funded WSSU research activity addressing cardiovascular disease and obesity, both targeting African-American women."
- A Press Release