Published on June 30, 2014 by Katie Stripling  
pharmacy student giving advice

Samford University's McWhorter School of Pharmacy has received a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham to provide support to individuals vulnerable to diabetes in Jefferson County. The $124,985 grant will be distributed over three years and will support two arms of intervention: a diabetes initiative and a prediabetes initiative.

Funds from the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham will be used to provide incentives and assist with the provision of educational materials, screening tests and manpower needed to execute the programs. 

 "Considering that over 8.3% of the U.S. population and 12% of Jefferson County residents suffer from diabetes, the impact of this project, which targets those at risk for developing diabetes as well as those with diabetes who are at the highest risk for developing the debilitating and costly complications of the disease, will be significant in the community-saving lives, protecting quality of life as well as decreasing costs," said B. DeeAnn Dugan, associate professor of pharmacy practice and program administrator. 

The diabetes initiative will involve patients who are newly diagnosed or at high risk for disease-related complications, Dugan explained. Patients will attend group sessions and individual follow-up visits in the pharmacist-run diabetes clinics at Christ Health Center in the Woodlawn are of Birmingham and three Jefferson County Department of Health locations. To assist patients with self-management costs, all patients will be provided a blood glucose meter and test strips in addition to educational materials. Patients will be incentivized to attend appointments where they will become empowered to make lifestyle changes and engage in self-management behaviors.

Participants in the pre-diabetes initiative will be identified during regularly scheduled visits to Christ Health Center and the Jefferson County Department of Health and at 16th Street Baptist Church through health screenings at the church. Identified individuals will participate in education and discussion sessions that cover nutrition, exercise, goals and targets for weight loss, and reasons to avoid progression to diabetes. All participants will receive regular follow-up, and incentives will be used to encourage appointment keeping and achievement of clinical outcomes measures. 

"Engaging students in this community program will not only allow us to serve a greater number of community residents and provide opportunities to train more students, it allows relationships to grow and develops the call to service in young professionals as students see the impact they can have on community members," added Dugan.  

Dugan said there are a number of collaborative partners, including Christ Health Center, 16th Street Baptist Church, Jefferson County Department of Health and Wal-Mart.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.