Alaska Tribes share diabetes program success with federal lawmakers

February 24, 2017

Earlier this month, advocates for Tribal diabetes prevention and treatment programs met with federal lawmakers and their staff to share the value of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI), a vital program helping improve the health of our people.

The meetings were arranged by the National Indian Health Board to advocate for continued congressional funding of the program. The 19 Tribal health organizations receiving SDPI funding are represented at the national level by ANTHC Board Vice-Chair Lincoln Bean, Sr. and were represented at the advocacy meetings by Sue Steward of Chugachmiut.

Congressional authorization for SDPI funding will expire on Sept. 30. Congress must renew this critical program to ensure SDPI-funded programs can continue their important work and that lessons learned from these programs can be shared and replicated to keep Tribal health on the path to a diabetes-free future.

ANTHC collaborates with all SDPI grantees in Alaska and it has been impressive to see the work being done for the health of our people across the state. Since the beginning of SDPI, blood sugar levels in American Indian and Alaska Native people have decreased, the risk of cardiovascular disease has been reduced, diabetes-related kidney disease progression has slowed, and primary prevention and weight management programs for Native children and youth have increased. More information can be found at

The successes of SDPI grant programs in Alaska are featured in a new publication produced by ANTHC, which was also shared during Congressional visits, Living in Wellness: Special Diabetes Program for Indians, The Alaska Story.

This report highlights how Alaska’s Tribal health organizations are able to support both the treatment of diabetes and the prevention of diabetes as two key factors to living a life in wellness.

For more information on the ANTHC Diabetes Program, visit

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