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U.S. Surgeon General Supports Detroit in Fight Against Diabetes
Date:2/22/2012

DETROIT, Feb. 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In her advocacy for effective disease prevention and health promotion programs, U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., joined the Southeast Michigan Beacon Community (SEMBC) today to launch the "Fighting D in the D" campaign during a kickoff event, attended by over 225 guests, at the Westin Book Cadillac in downtown Detroit. The event brought together state and local governments, health care systems, insurers, providers and consumer groups, along with major business and community leaders.

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The "Fighting D in the D" campaign introduces txt4health, a personalized 14-week mobile health program, which will inform people about their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. SEMBC hosted a community roundtable, involving more than 35 health care and government leaders and the U.S. Surgeon General. Roundtable participants engaged in an open dialogue addressing the burden of diabetes in Detroit with a unified course. 

"The diverse group of leaders gathered today speaks volumes about the shared desire to reduce the burden of diabetes through public health partnerships that strive to protect, preserve, and promote the health of the people of Michigan," said Terrisca Des Jardins, director of SEMBC. "The importance of prevention programs such as txt4health is underscored by the fact that diabetes continues to be a major public health challenge in the United States and Michigan."

According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, an estimated 700,000 Michigan adults have been diagnosed with diabetes, and another 365,000 have undiagnosed diabetes. This means more than 1 million adults in Michigan are directly affected by this ever-growing epidemic. "There is so much that can be done to care for and prevent type 2 diabetes. The task before all of us is to take action and become involved," said Ann Albright, Ph.D., R.D., director of the CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation. "Fighting D in the D provides a rally cry for Detroiters to make progress in combating this serious, yet preventable disease."

This campaign is part of the Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement Program, an Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) grant program for communities to help build and strengthen health information technology infrastructure that supports clinical quality improvement and population health goals. Voxiva, a global pioneer in interactive mobile health services, provides the technology behind txt4health. Txt4health is a free service, part of a pilot program that is only available in the greater Detroit, New Orleans, and Cincinnati areas.

"Txt4health is a powerful tool that can be used to educate people about health risks and help instill new, healthy habits in their daily routine," said Scott Turske, communications manager at SEMBC. "Txt4health is one example of how we're reaching out to Southeast Michigan, which in many cases has limited access to healthcare. If we can educate people to take preventive health measures, we can keep them healthier and also keep health care costs down."

SEMBC is deploying a major media-awareness campaign with a micro-targeted component that includes unique, engaging grassroots marketing efforts in at-risk areas of the city. The "Fighting D in the D" campaign will feature a radio and television PSA takeover in addition to high-profile marketing street teams that will hit the streets of Metro Detroit communities. 

About Southeast Michigan Beacon Community: Through meaningful use of health information technology, the Southeast Michigan Beacon Community focuses on goals that significantly address the care quality, health outcome and cost issues in the region. Specifically, the Beacon Community uses existing and expanding electronic health record (EHR) and HIE infrastructures to enhance the care coordination and health care processes with a focus on effective use of networked patient information and EHRs. These efforts leverage existing technologies to enhance patient involvement in the management of their own chronic illnesses and improve quality of life for patients diagnosed with diabetes. For more information about the Southeast Michigan Beacon Community visit www.sembc.org/

About the Surgeon General: Regina M. Benjamin, MD, MBA, is the 18th Surgeon General of the United States. As America's Doctor, she provides the public with the best scientific information available on how to improve its health and the health of the nation. Dr. Benjamin also oversees the operational command of 6,500 uniformed public health officers who serve in locations around the world to promote and protect the health of the American people.

About Txt4health: Txt4health is a mobile health information service designed to help people understand their risk for type 2 diabetes and become more informed about the steps they can take to lead healthy lives. People who sign up for txt4health by texting "HEALTH" to 300400 will receive SMS text messages each week with timely, relevant information to help them improve and manage their health. The txt4health program is made possible through a public-private initiative that includes the American Diabetes Association (ADA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), Voxiva, and the three Beacon Communities that are piloting this program: Crescent City (New Orleans), Southeast Michigan (including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Monroe, Livingston, and St.Clair Counties) and Greater Cincinnati. This campaign is part of a broad effort by the Beacons to deploy new consumer ehealth tools to help individuals better manage their health.

For more information about the campaign, contact Scott Turske, Communications Manager at the Southeast Michigan Beacon Community, sturske@semha.org  
For more information about the Southeast Michigan Beacon Community visit http://www.sembc.org/
For more information about the Beacon Community Program visit http://bit.ly/uEvKzs.
For more information about the txt4health product visit www.txt4health.com.
For more information about preventing type 2 diabetes visit www.cdc.gov/diabetes.
For more information about diabetes treatment visit www.diabetes.org.
For more information on the U.S. Surgeon General visit www.surgeongeneral.gov
For more information on Voxiva visit www.voxiva.com


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SOURCE Southeast Michigan Beacon Community
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