A Faculty of Medicine project that will use peer support — both in-person and online — to help people in rural and high-risk communities manage diabetes will receive $121,800 over two years from the federal government.
The Honourable Tim Uppal, Minister of State (Democratic Reform) announced the grant Aug. 13 on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health.
“Diabetes is on the rise in Canada and worldwide,” Minister Uppal said. “Our government is working with key organizations to help prevent Type 2 diabetes, and to improve the lives of those who have or may develop all types of diabetes.”
The Inter-Cultural Online Health Network (iCON) project will establish a peer-support diabetes program in BC’s multicultural rural communities, specifically targeting Punjabi and Chinese-speaking communities. This project will educate community members and patients about diabetes using live and virtual peer support groups.
“The rates of diabetes are higher in Punjabi and Chinese-speaking communities than the rest of the general population,” said Kendall Ho, a Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and Director of the Faculty’s eHealth Strategy Office, which will manage the project. “We are very pleased to receive the support of the Government of Canada to pursue this e-health project that will provide practical and current information using the Web and social media to help multicultural communities at high risk prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.”
Diabetes affects approximately two and a half million Canadians. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 to 95 per cent of diabetes cases in Canada. It can often be prevented or delayed with regular physical activity, healthy eating and by maintaining a healthy weight. If not managed properly, diabetes can lead to serious complications like heart disease, stroke, blindness, chronic kidney disease, nervous system damage, and amputation.
Through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Canadian Diabetes Strategy, the Government of Canada supports projects developed to enhance prevention initiatives in high-risk populations, to provide information on early detection, and to help people living with diabetes avoid serious complications.
The Agency is also collaborating with the provinces and territories to explore new innovative approaches to detect undiagnosed diabetes and pre-diabetes. The CANRISK questionnaire can help Canadians understand the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, including body weight, ethnicity, physical activity and family history. CANRISK is available on the Agency website, through Service Canada and in all Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmasave stores across Canada.
The Agency is committed to promoting and protecting the health of Canadians. For more information on diabetes or healthy living, please visit www.publichealth.gc.ca. A backgrounder with more information on the funded projects is here.