A decade of patient-centered diabetes care

A decade of patient-centered diabetes care

Parkland’s Global Diabetes Program celebrates 10-year anniversary

Parkland Health recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Global Diabetes Program, which was created to address soaring rates of diabetes in Dallas County and to help patients with this complex disease navigate the healthcare system.

The program aims to provide a comprehensive, patient-centered approach that improves access to care with a focus on bringing specialty care to the patient’s own communities. A multidisciplinary team of physicians, advanced practice providers, pharmacists, nurses, dietitians, counselors, psychiatrists, social workers, and financial counselors work to rotate around the patient, instead of the patient having to manage a multitude of various separate appointments.

Developed in collaboration with Parkland’s Community Oriented Primary Care (COPC) health centers, the program boasts an average of 10,000 visits per year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 38 million people are living with diabetes in the United States. Data published in the 2022 Dallas County Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) revealed rates of diabetes in Dallas County exceed the national average.

Uma Gunasekaran, MD, endocrinologist and executive medical director of Parkland’s Global Diabetes Center, emphasizes that the program’s focus on community and patient education has been critical in addressing the needs of patients as well as those who are at risk of developing diabetes.

“Since day one, Parkland’s Global Diabetes Program’s focus has always been on providing quality care to underserved patients, by ensuring access to care for all of the individuals in our community, but especially those who already face additional barriers to receiving treatment, such as a lack of transportation or not living near a clinic,” said Dr. Gunasekaran. “We’ve made sure our growth expanded us into the places our patients live, and integrated all of their necessary care around them so they are not having to balance dozens of appointments.”

For Dr. Gunasekaran, the last decade has been marked by opportunities for growth, not just in the size of the program but by adapting in new ways that meet patients where they are. The pandemic showed her team the value of virtual care, and the importance of making specialty care accessible beyond the hospital campus.

With hundreds of thousands of patient interactions, it’s safe to say the program has impacted many people over the last decade. “I am so proud that since our inception the entirety of the Parkland Health care team knows their patients, regardless of how they enter our system, will have access to quality diabetes care,” Dr. Gunasekaran said.

To best serve an ever-growing Dallas community, the Parkland Global Diabetes Program will continue to look for out of the box ways to deliver diabetes care for its patients over the next decade.

“All of this would not have been possible without our community leadership, Parkland leadership, and of course the people we are so grateful to care for each and every day,” said Dr. Gunasekaran.

At Parkland, our diabetes programs are dedicated to the health and well-being of the individuals and communities entrusted to our care. To learn more about living with diabetes, visit www.parklanddiabetes.com.

For more information about Parkland, please visit www.parklandhealth.org.