About KIPDA’s Tri-County Rural Diabetes Coalition

Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency (KIPDA) through its Division of Social Services in partnership with the University of Louisville, Kent School of Social Work has received a grant through the CDC.  The National Program to Eliminate Diabetes-Related Disparities in Vulnerable Populations, including the elderly, minorities, and low-income populations, was awarded to KIPDA to address the prevalence of diabetes in the rural counties of Bullitt, Henry, and Shelby of Kentucky specifically. 

An interesting component of the coalition coming soon is the photovoice project in which residents will document and share their community-specific environmental challenges to a healthy lifestyle by taking photographs with a disposable camera and discussing the activities in a focus group.  This, among other investigative initiatives, will set the stage for community involvement and social interaction in the coalition.

Barbara Gordon, Director, Division of Social Services, of KIPDA which actually covers seven counties in Ky. believes that this type of grant can fundamentally change the modeling we do in our communities and even affect economic development planning.  “The first phase of research allows people to take a snapshot of their community looking at needs, gaps, and resources.  Potential disparities to healthcare access involve evaluation of a number of communities.  We know that individuals with diabetes should be eating healthier, but do they actually have access to fresh markets for vegetables and fruits?  And can they afford it?  We map the community and look at problem areas,” she said.

Gordon indicates that “as early as the second year, we will identify real interventions to implement in the communities that will impact positive change for persons with diabetes.”   She expects that the level of awareness, regarding the onset and management of diabetes, will grow.

The grant will continue through 2015.  The University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work is involved in the programmatic evaluation and assessment tied to the grant including the following staff:  Dr. Pam Yankeelov, PhD, Dr. Annatjie Faul, PhD; Dr. Wanda Lott Collins, PhD; and Joseph D’Ambrosio, JD, MSSW .

For more information on being involved in the coalition, go to http://www.kipda.org or call 502-266-5571, and contact Barbara Gordon, Director, Division of Social Services.

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