Massachusetts Urges Health Providers to Screen Asian Americans for Diabetes

Apicha Community Health Center Jan 22, 2018  

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On Monday, January 22, 2018, legislators from both the Massachusetts House and Senate have voted on a Joint Resolution to urge the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and other public and private health providers to screen Asian Americans for diabetes at a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 23.

This is a lower screening BMI than for Caucasian Americans, and making it the third state to adopt a "Screen at 23" resolution."Screen at 23" is a national campaign coordinated by the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians (NCAPIP), Joslin’s Asian American Diabetes Initiative (AADI), and the AANHPI Diabetes Coalition. The coalition, which also includes the American Diabetes Association (ADA), aims to raise awareness of the diabetes risks in Asian Americans as well as Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

In Massachusetts, screening at 23 BMI would reveal more than 6,000 additional cases of diabetes among Asian Americans and close to 20,000 new cases of prediabetes --allowing treatment, interventions and prevention to begin before damaging associated conditions develop or worsen.

"This is a significant milestone for all of us who have worked over the years in the AADI at Joslin. "Screen at 23" is the first of several important steps to ensure Asian-American populations have proper health care for their diabetes and we are so thankful to the Legislature, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and all of those who have advocated for the adoption of these screening guidelines," said Dr. George L. King, Chief Scientific Officer, Joslin Diabetes Center.

Dr. LaShawn McIver, Senior Vice-President of Government Affairs and Advocacy at ADA said, "The Legislature's resolution brings attention to a critical health concern affecting the Asian American community. As more providers and patients become aware of the "Screen at 23" guidelines, we are hopeful screening will become more widespread–and preventive steps can then be set in motion for those at risk of developing diabetes."

"The science shows that when it comes to diabetes, Asian Americans are different; guidelines are now reflecting this reality, and screening practices must change to reflect these guidelines," shared Dr. Ho Luong Tran, President and CEO of NCAPIP.

Massachusetts is the third state to adopt a "Screen at 23" resolution since the campaign began in late 2015.

Visit www.screenat23.org for more information on the campaign, and resources for patients and providers from partners like Joslin AADI.

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