Newswise — NEW YORK, November 14, 2018 – On World Diabetes Day, November 14, South Bronx-based Health People: Community Preventative Health Institute hosted a “Kneel-In” at the New York State Department of Health’s New York City offices, protesting the state’s soaring caseload---which has now reached 1,529,719 cases—while the state Health Department has completely defunded technical and support services for more than 300 public, private, health and community-based partners who provide diabetes self-care and prevention education.

In light of New York State’s 1.5 million diagnosed cases of diabetes, its 48 percent increase in diabetes-related lower limb amputations, and the 114,000 new cases diagnosed in the state annually, the state’s failure to fund both proven preventive education and self-management programs shown to improve health outcomes and quality of life for adults living with diabetes has been devastating.

“Actually, the D- stands for devastating—and more than devastating,” said Chris Norwood, Executive Director of Health People, which issued the state report card. “The state’s refusal to even fund the Centers for Disease Control-approved National Diabetes Prevention program, which is shown to reduce by 58% the risk that pre-diabetics will develop diabetes, is simply an abandonment of public health.”

According to Rev. John Williams, President of New Creation Community Health Empowerment in Brooklyn, the rally co-sponsor “We are a church group and like many church groups all overthe state, we are providing our diabetes self-care courses with volunteers. We don’t even gethelp to buy the educational materials. Obviously we can’t pay for all this ourselves no matterhow hard we try. Meanwhile we are looking at a horrendous diabetes epidemic in centralBrooklyn. How many people does the state want to get diabetes? How many thousands moredo they want on dialysis for diabetes-related kidney failure or in wheelchairs for their lostlimbs?”

For the past two years, the state further undermined community efforts to fight diabetes bydefunding QTAC, a technical assistance center that helped 300 health and community-basedorganizations with technical assistance, such as training and guidance to deliver their diabetesprevention and education courses.

Perhaps the worst consequence of the failure to provide self-management education is thestate’s soaring diabetes-related lower limb amputation rate—which has increased by 48percent statewide since 2009.

“Every amputation is a failure of our care system. Let us not be accomplices, when we can acttogether with a loud voice. We can provide the care, together, to make such amputations anunpleasant memory of a time of indifference,” said Robert Morrow, M.D., Associate Professorin the Department of Family and Social medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

At the rally, Anthony ‘Malik” Wright, himself a double diabetes amputee, spoke out “so thatothers will never have to go through what I’ve been through. I never received any realeducation about how to manage my diabetes. No one told me the horrors that could happen---but certainly the doctors knew. I want to be sure that today, everyone with diabetes knowswhat they have to do for good control and good outcomes.”

The percentage of diabetes patients in New York State who had access to even one class onself-management fell to 35 percent in 2015 from 52 percent in 2001.

“This is incomprehensible and frightening,” Norwood added. “Good education has been provenover and over to work for diabetics and others with chronic disease. It really is as if the stateclosed down vaccinations for polio. The price in increased health costs---and human costs incrippled and disabled people---is incalculable and irresponsible.”


New York State’s Type 2 Diabetes Report Card:  It’s D-

The New York State Department of Health has refused and refused to fund both proven—and Centers of Disease Control-recommended—diabetes prevention education and patient self-care education shown to significantly prevent complications like amputation and kidney failure.

New York State has entered an unprecedented diabetes crisis.

Here is New York State’s Appalling 2018 Diabetes Report Card:

Cases and Complications Soar!*


State Grade

Annual New Diabetes Cases



People in New York State with Diabetes



Diabetes-related Lower Limb Amputations since 2009

48% Increase


Yearly Increase in Diabetes-Related Dialysis Cases






State Support for Evidence-based Diabetes Education



Annual Funding for the National Diabetes Prevention Program – Proven to reduce by 58% the risk that pre-diabetics will develop diabetes



Annual Funding for Diabetes Self-Management Courses proven to slash amputations, blindness and other complications



Technical assistance for clinical and community groups trying to provide this education themselves---defunded for past two years



Future state plan for technical assistance and training for clinical and community groups trying to provide key diabetes patient education themselves---only one Technical Assistance Center in Albany

Not yet clear


Decrease in New York State diabetes patients who receive even one self-care education session---a drastic fall from 52% of patients in 2001 to only 35% today

48  percent Decrease


OVERALL: The soaring diabetes complication rate spurred by the falling patient education rate gives New York State a D- in diabetes.



* Statistics all from Centers for Disease Control Diabetes Atlas except Amputation Rate and New Dialysis Cases from NY State Reports.


Demand that New York State support evidence-based diabetes education!

Email NYS Health Commissioner Howard Zucker: [email protected]