Each Tuesday and Thursday, Asheville Housing Authority’s Director of Communication, Terry Bellamy, hosts the radio show, Asheville Housing Works, which focuses on issues that are important to the residents of the Asheville Housing Authority. Asheville Housing Works most recent show focused on the important issue of Diabetes. Bellamy’s guest on the show was Deanna LaMotte. LaMotte is a Health Improvement Specialist who works at Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC), in partnership with Buncombe County Health & Human Services. Her work mostly focuses on what happens outside the doctor’s office and those community conditions that make it easier for people in the community to get and stay healthy. LaMotte does her work with community agencies, community members, and health care providers.

During the show, LaMotte highlighted the fact, “Every three years, Buncombe County collects data on the health outcomes of the residents through the Community Health Improvement Process (CHIP). After the information is gathered and plans are developed to address any major trends that are found. One of alarming findings from the most recent study revealed that, African-Americans in Buncombe County are 3.5 times more likely to have serious complications and die from diabetes.” As a direct result of the increased mortality rate of African Americans due to diabetes, a Diabetes Workgroup was developed. The Workgroup’s goals are to:

Goal 1: Increase clinical referrals to community-based diabetes programs. These community-based programs are often free or at least low-cost, they are on bus lines or even help participants with transportation and other barriers, and they increase social support as well as behavior change.

Goal 2: Create more trust and cross-referral among existing diabetes prevention & management education programs. In other words, we need to reduce the sense of “competition” among these great programs, even though they do sometimes compete for funding.

GOAL 3: We want to help people become stronger self-advocates and DEMAND more diabetes screening, testing, prevention and management support from health care and community.

Goal 4: Build strong structure for partnerships with community members with diabetes so that programs can meet the real needs of people impacted by diabetes, not just what we think they need.

Additionally, LaMotte noted that the “Diabetes Workgroup has recently partnered with 211 to create a ‘single entry point’ for community-based diabetes prevention and management programs.”

During the show, Bellamy encouraged residents of the Asheville Housing Authority to contact 211 for more information on the programs because the 211 specialists will have the information they need to help a caller (patient or provider) identify the best program to fit the needs of the caller.

For more information about the CHIP or the Diabetes Workgroup, contact Deanna L. LaMotte at the Mountain Area Health Education Center. Her email address is Deanna.lamotte@mahec.net

The Asheville Housing Works radio show airs on Tuesdays and Thursdays on WRES, 100.7 fm at 11:30 am.