Baylor Health Care System announced today the opening of a new Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute in an underserved community in South Dallas that it believes will ultimately influence the way diabetes is treated and prevented around the country.
The Institute will bring treatment and prevention where it is needed most. Residents in the Institute's ZIP code are three-times more likely to die from diabetes compared to those living in Dallas as a whole. With an average income of $9,000, many of the area's residents cannot afford transportation to doctors' offices or hospitals outside of the neighborhood, nor can they afford healthy food options or access to exercise classes and equipment—all essential to living healthfully with the disease.
Staffed by physicians, nurses, care coordinators and diabetes education specialists, the Institute will offer simple yet innovative approaches to combating the disease. For instance, the Institute will also provide:
- A weekly farmers market to sell fresh produce at discounted prices
- Cooking classes
- Exercise classes
- Wellness classes to help those who are at risk of the disease avoid it
- Affordable medications and other medical supplies
"Health care organizations need to expand their role in the communities they serve and this initiative is one example," says Joel Allison, president and CEO, Baylor Health Care System. "Hospitals have not traditionally been in the business of providing cooking classes and farmers markets, but this new model of care represents the future. We are now working to improve the health of a community beyond the walls of a hospital."
The Institute is the result of a unique public/private joint effort between Baylor and the City of Dallas. The City has helped Baylor bring diabetes treatment, education and healthy living programs to the area by allowing the health care system to invest $15 million in renovating and transforming an already established city recreation center.
"We need to create new and innovative ways to provide care to the communities we serve," says Allison. "In this new health care environment, we are putting greater emphasis on prevention and wellness."
Diabetes alone accounts for one-in-five health care dollars spent in the U.S. today. Each American right now spends $700 a year on this disease, whether they have it or not. And it is estimated that in ten years, one-in-three Americans will be diabetic.
"Diabetes doesn't have to be a death sentence," says Donna Rice, president, Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute. "We know that the simple diabetes education we will offer at the Institute can significantly reduce the chances of diabetes-related complications in patients and lower their cost of care by 15 percent."
Baylor says this unique approach to the epidemic has already gained national attention.
"It will be exciting over the coming years to watch and see what this Institute does for the health of the area," says Allison. "It is humbling to think that if successful, this initiative could change the way we as a country approach chronic disease."
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About Baylor Scott & White Health
As the largest not-for-profit health system in the state of Texas, Baylor Scott & White promotes the health and well-being of every individual, family and community it serves. It is committed to making quality care more accessible, convenient and affordable through its integrated delivery network, which includes the Baylor Scott & White Health Plan, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute, the Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance and its leading digital health platform – MyBSWHealth. Through 51 hospitals and more than 1,100 access points, including flagship academic medical centers in Dallas, Fort Worth and Temple, the system offers the full continuum of care, from primary to award-winning specialty care. Founded as a Christian ministry of healing more than a century ago, Baylor Scott & White today serves more than three million Texans. For more information, visit: BSWHealth.com