Parkland launches diabetes awareness campaign to combat epidemic

Parkland launches diabetes awareness campaign to combat epidemic

Community organizations partner to fight serious health risk to Dallas residents

Eleven percent of Dallas County residents have diabetes, an alarming statistic that health professionals say has reached epidemic proportions. Diabetes poses a growing threat throughout the U.S., but Texans have a higher rate than many other areas. It’s estimated that 660,000 people in Texas don’t know they have diabetes and 37 percent of Texans have prediabetes.

Because of the grave health consequences caused by diabetes, Parkland Health & Hospital System has launched a major public health awareness campaign to educate area residents about the risks of diabetes and ways to prevent and manage the disease. The campaign includes public health messaging encouraging people to know their risk of developing the disease, calls to action to learn how to prevent the disease and resources for helping to manage the illness.

“Diabetes is a serious public health issue in Dallas as it is throughout the nation,” said Luigi Meneghini, MD, Executive Director of the Global Diabetes Program at Parkland and Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “It remains the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. And the disease is linked to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, amputation, end-stage kidney disease, blindness and death. Our goal is to educate, support and encourage a healthy lifestyle free of disease complications for people with diabetes and to provide information that can prevent or delay onset of the disease in those at risk.”

The awareness campaign includes traditional marketing via cable and Spanish-language TV, movie theaters, radio and transit advertising as well as community newspapers, social media, community outreach and educational events for the public and healthcare professionals.

Parkland developed a new interactive website in both English and Spanish as a hub for information from experts to better understand what diabetes is, how to prevent and control it and provide tools and resources to help individuals and families with the disease. The website includes sections for those with type 2 diabetes, as well as people with prediabetes to help them take steps to delay or prevent the disease. It offers in-depth content on nutrition and exercise; glucose management; treatment and medication; health problems associated with diabetes; goal-setting; and resources for help. To learn more, visit the new site at

More than 39,000 patients with the condition currently receive care at Parkland.

Parkland is collaborating with other community organizations to limit diabetes’ impact on the health of Dallas-area residents.

“The North Texas office of the American Diabetes Association has had a long partnership with Parkland Health & Hospital System in the fight against diabetes. The Association shares in Parkland’s commitment to expand education and awareness to help prevent and treat this deadly disease,” said Ted Gebhardt, Jr., Executive Director.

Donald Wesson, MD, President, Baylor Scott and White Health & Wellness Institute, stated, “We recognize the importance of reducing the incidence of diabetes in order to enhance the health of our city. We support this important wellness initiative by Parkland and recognize that its success depends upon partnerships with individuals, families and communities as we strive to solve these health challenges together.”

“Like Parkland, The Concilio is dedicated to building stronger communities by empowering parents to improve the education and health of their families,” said Florencia Velasco Fortner, President and CEO of The Concilio. “We are pleased to partner with Parkland in this effort to raise awareness by alerting parents and children about the serious health complications diabetes can cause and providing information and tools to help prevent or manage the disease. By focusing on reducing the risk of obesity, improving nutrition and encouraging physical activity, Parkland and The Concilio hope to positively impact the health of people of all ages in our community.”

In addition to the health risks of the disease, diabetes is expensive. According to a 2015 report by the American Diabetes Association, diabetes and prediabetes cost an estimated $23.7 billion in Texas each year. People with diabetes have medical expenses approximately 2.3 times higher than those who do not have diabetes. Total direct medical expenses for diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes, prediabetes and gestational diabetes in Texas were estimated at $18.2 billion in 2012. In addition, another $5.5 billion was spent on indirect costs from lost productivity due to diabetes.

The Global Diabetes Program is part of Parkland’s continuing efforts to combat diabetes. The program is patient-centered and multidisciplinary, involving physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, behavioral health experts, social workers and financial experts across Parkland.

The Healthy Living with Diabetes Education Program at Parkland is recognized by the American Diabetes Association. To learn more, visit or call 214-590-7219. To learn more about diabetes, visit