The California Medical Association Foundation has launched
its Advancing Practice Excellence in Diabetes Project to –
- Decrease the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in California,
- Reduce the racial and ethnic healthcare disparities associated
with this disease.
- Strengthen the viability of solo and small group practices.
The CMA Foundation strives to address health issues that
will become major threats to society and support physicians
in their role to tackle the issues. It is through this interest
in current medical concerns that Advancing Practice Excellence
in Diabetes was created. This project intends to improve how
physicians care for their patients with diabetes, how patients
care for themselves, and prevent future spread of this disease.
Type 2 diabetes is often linked to obesity and physical inactivity,
and is generally more common in older adults, women, and certain
racial and ethnic groups. However, in recent years it has
spread to a much younger patient base, and has been diagnosed
in children as young as seven years old. By the year 2020,
the prevalence of diabetes in California is expected to exceed
four million people, and as the numbers of undiagnosed and
non-compliant patients increase, so do the medical complications
associated with diabetes. Patients with diabetes often have
complications that coincide with the disease, including heart
disease, stroke, hypertension, blindness, kidney disorders,
loss of feeling in the feet and legs, and amputations. In
addition, patients with diabetes are twice as likely to develop
depression as the general public, which can lead to further
mental health complications.
Diabetes affects certain populations disproportionately,
and the racial and ethnic disparities are yet another reason
that something needs to be done to slow the spread of this
disease. The Native American, Latino, and African American
communities are twice as likely to develop diabetes over a
lifetime as other groups. Experts project that rates in South
East Asian communities are incrementally increasing and their
susceptibility increases when introduced to an American diet.
Unfortunately, these susceptible populations experience significant
health disparities associated with their diabetes. Narrowing
these disparities is a crucial objective of this project.