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Surgeon General to Launch Diabetes Initiative in Kansas

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U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona will be in Wichita, Kan., on Monday to launch the Diabetes Detection Initiative, a federal project to address the growing number of people who don't know they have diabetes.

Wichita is one of 10 cities nationwide chosen as pilot sites for the initiative.

The goal is to increase the number of people who get a risk assessment for diabetes, along with follow-up testing and treatment if needed. People will be given information on ways to reduce their risk.

The National Institutes of Health estimates that 18.2 million Americans have diabetes, with about 5.2 million of them not knowing it. By the time their disease is diagnosed, they may already have eye or kidney damage. Early diagnosis can lessen the costs of the disease.

The six-month initiative will start Monday morning at North High School in Wichita, with Carmona sharing his story with students.

He's a high school dropout who joined the Army and became a combat-decorated Vietnam veteran. He was tops in his medical school class and was chairman of Arizona's Southern Regional Emergency Medical System before being named surgeon general by President Bush.

At 11:30 a.m., Carmona is scheduled to be at the Mid-America All-Indian Center for the kickoff. The event is free and open to the public, and those attending will be given a risk assessment.

In Wichita, six health clinics and the Sedgwick County Health Department will administer the risk assessments. Those at risk will be encouraged to seek more testing at the clinics or through their health-care provider, said Monique Garcia of the health department, who is working with federal officials to bring the project to Wichita.

Garcia said assessments were offered at a recent Wichita schools health fair, where they were given to people as they waited for flu shots. The assessments will be available in similar settings over the coming months, or people can take them online at

The other pilot project sites are Oakland, Calif.; Springfield-Holyoke, Mass.; Flint, Mich.; East Harlem, N.Y.; Choctaw Nation, Okla.; Orangeburg County, S.C.; Seattle; Fayette and Greenbrier counties, W.Va.; and Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyo.


(c) 2003, The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.). Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.

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