Drake, ADA host free diabetes awareness event and walk Nov. 12

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Drake University and the American Diabetes Association will host a free community event on Nov. 12 to raise diabetes awareness during National Diabetes Month.

The 2016 Central Iowa Diabetes Community Event & Walk will be held Saturday, Nov. 12, from 9 a.m. to noon in The Knapp Center. An optional pre-registration is available online. The free, family-friendly will feature:

  • A wellness expo with more than 20 exhibitors; free services by a variety of community health and wellness organizations, including Hy-Vee dietitians and Drake University pharmacy students.
  • Community Walk to Stop Diabetes
  • Meet-and-greet with Jay Hewitt, Team USA triathlete and Type 1 diabetic.
  • Healthy lunch provided by Hy-Vee, Inc.
  • Diabetes education presentations, including a session on "The Importance of the Diabetes Educator" by Drake University Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice Wendy Mobley-Bukstein.

Nearly 42 percent of adult Iowans have either pre-diabetes or diabetes, and as many as 40 percent of Iowans with diabetes are unaware of the condition.

Individuals who do not have easy access to healthcare, such as non-native English speakers and families with low household income, are especially susceptible to undiagnosed diabetes.

Drake University first collaborated with the American Diabetes Association on this event last year. Attendance increased, especially among traditionally underserved populations who are at higher risk for undiagnosed diabetes.

“Drake University’s Knapp Center is a perfect location for this event because there are a lot of underserved people in our region of the Des Moines metro,” said Professor of Pharmacy Practice June Johnson, head of Drake’s academic concentration in diabetes and president of the ADA Central Iowa region’s community leadership board. “Des Moines has a more diverse population than much of Iowa, with more socioeconomic variation; to illustrate, about 40 percent of students in Des Moines Public Schools are non-native English speakers. Events like this one we’re hosting on Nov. 12 offer a nice way for Drake to provide a valuable community service, and for our students to practice their skills in patient counseling, and health coaching."

Nationally, about 30 million Americans have either Type 1 (insulin-dependent) or Type 2, the most common form, of diabetes. Another 86 million has pre-diabetes.

Drake has offered pharmacy students the opportunity to pursue an academic concentration in diabetes since 2000. Typically about one-third of pharmacy students are enrolled in the concentration, which consists of 20 course credits and two five-week rotations focused on diabetes care. Students have the opportunity to assist Professor Johnson in research at the Iowa Diabetes and Endocrinology Center at Mercy Medical Center, where Johnson is a pharmacy consultant.

A student-led organization, Operation Diabetes, participates in a Diabetes Busters education program in local fourth-grade classrooms. Students also host numerous free health screenings, blood pressure checks, and blood glucose checks at community locations throughout the year.

“The number of people with diabetes is growing, and many people don’t know they have diabetes,” says Mackenzie Leal, a third-year pharmacy student at Drake. “I’ve done bone density screenings at local shopping malls, discovered the patient’s foot was discolored, and went on to find their blood glucose level was well above target range. I’ve worked with patients who were diagnosed with diabetes in the past, but they’re non-adherent with their medications. We send them away with as much information as we can, and hopefully we can help to improve their healthcare outcomes.”