On March 7, 2012, The National Indian Health Board sponsored a Tribal Caucus and Briefing on the reauthorization of funding for the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI). SDPI, established in 1997, is currently set to expire in FY 2013 unless reauthorized.
According to the American Diabetes Association, almost 17 percent of Native Americans and Alaska Natives in the United States have Type II diabetes (that’s roughly 2.8 times the national average). This is the highest rate for any minority group in the country. Heart disease and stroke are the number one causes of death among people with Type II diabetes. According to a recent government report, this problem starts early for Native Americans. Obesity affects one-half to one-third of American Indian/Alaska Native children, according to the Food and Nutrition Service, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Congress established the SDPI in 1997 in an attempt to get diabetes in Indian Country under control. This program has funded nearly 400 community‐directed programs and provides local tribes and health programs with assistance in setting their own priorities around diabetes prevention and treatment to meet the needs of their communities. These SDPI‐supported programs have resulted in a 40% reduction in diabetes‐related complications among American Indians and Alaska Natives. The SDPI is currently funded at $150 million per year thru FY 2013. SDPI provides a good example of a federal investment in community‐driven, culturally‐appropriate prevention programs with measurable positive results.
Call your Senators and Representative, and ask them to add their name to an SDPI support letter because:
- SDPI is a life-saving program that provides real returns on federal investment.
- SDPI must be reauthorized in order to continue to make progress on the devastatingly high incidence of diabetes in Indian Country.
House of Representatives:
To determine your Representative and receive specific contact information for them, click here. The House SDPI support letter is being distributed by Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY)
To determine your Senators and receive specific contact information for them, click here. The Senate SDPI support letter is being distributed by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).
To be connected to a Representative or Senator via phone, call the Congressional switchboard at: 202-224-3121
National Indian Health Board Links:
- Legislative Alert (PDF)
- Dear Colleague Senate (PDF)
- House Support Letter (PDF)
- SDPI House Dear Colleague (PDF)
- Senate Support Letter for SDPI (PDF)