Jim Sánchez / Conexión San Ángelo 

SAN ANGELO – Leslie Hines, Program Coordinator, San Angelo Diabetes Coalition, was hired this past April and has already made inroads quickly as the point person who has taken on a strong, proactive approach against diabetes as five entities: San Angelo Health Foundation, Angelo State University, Esperanza Medical Center, San Angelo Community Medical Center, San Angelo Medical Center, a grant and a health needs assessment laid down the groundwork in the early going process.

“A health needs assessment, conducted primary amongst the poor and extremely poor population, was done in 2015 through ASU’s CDI department along with a collaborative effort from the San Angelo Health Foundation.” “It was determined that one of the greatest needs in our community was diabetes and diabetes education” said Hines.

Currently in Tom Green County the percentage of residents here with diabetes is actually higher than our state average, stated Hines. 

Once the assessment was conducted, the next step that took place was when SADC received a $265,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield/ Healthy Kids, Healthy Families last December. 

The SADC uses the grant funding to specifically focus on “kidney disease and or Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) coalition” said Hines. Leslie stated that it was the Coalition’s objective to address the kidney disease component because diabetes leads to kidney disease. 

Thus far into 2018, Hines and SADC community health worker, Mary Montez, have participated in five different health fairs, reached approximately 440 people, conducted 110 glucose checks along with four educational seminars.

Hines stated where the Coalition does things differently from others is taking a strong, personal proactive approach. Currently Montez has personally met with 10 individuals out of 31 who attended the health fairs.

One other thing SADC has done is to remove one previous barrier that had gotten in the way for the extremely poor is to address the issue of transportation. “Mary has also been able to hook them up with resources within the community.

"We are going make sure we are going out to them instead of them coming to us" concluded Hines.

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