By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The participants in the Healthy Heart Initiative (HHI) were recognized for their accomplishments at a luncheon held at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel on Wednesday, July 25.
“As we all know, Type 2 diabetes is a disease that affects not only every part of our body, but it also affects the people surrounding us,” Chenoa Gass, RN, HHI staff, told the group. “I’m very happy today, that in spite of this, each of you has made steps to help defeat this disease.”
“Today we honor and celebrate you in all of your efforts to improving your health and making a difference in not only your lives but the people surrounding you as well.”
Gass related that there are now a total of 101 HHI participants. A total of 81 participants were enrolled in the program when various health data was taken recently to see how treatment targets were being met.
The following are goals for each participant: A1c lower than 7 percent, blood pressure lower than 130/80, LDL level lower than 100 and triglycerides level lower than 150.
At the beginning of the program, a total of 32 met the A1c goal, 36 met the blood pressure goal, 49 met the LDL goal and 33 met the triglycerides goal. That has increased to 34 for A1c, 55 for blood pressure, 57 for LDL and 41 for triglycerides.
“Each and every individual in this room has made improvements in their blood pressure, A1c, weight and cholesterol,” said Gass.
Each participant present at Wednesday’s event received a Certificate of Achievement and a medallion designed by EBCI artist Darrin Bark.
HHI participant Marvel Welch related, “I would really like to thank Healthy Heart for reminding us how important it is to take care of ourselves. I have really enjoyed this program.”
HHI is funded through monies from the Special Diabetes Program for Indians through the Indian Health Service. Gass related there are a total of 30 programs in different tribes nationwide. “The program has been funded for another two years. We are in our second year now, and last fall they did approve us for another two years so we are looking at current funding to carry us through to Sept. 30, 2014.”
Alexis Beyer, PharmD, of Cherokee Indian Hospital Pharmacy, works with the HHI program. She told the group on Wednesday, “You guys have done such an amazing job. I brag on you all the time. You should all be so, so proud of yourself.”
Information from SDPI states, “The Healthy Heart Initiative targets American Indians and Alaska Natives who have been diagnosed with diabetes. This project uses an intensive clinical, team-based case management approach to treat factors for cardiovascular disease, which is the number one killer of American Indian and Alaska Native adults.”