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SUHI Project: Lawndale Diabetes Project: A Community-Based Collaboration Between Mount Sinai Hospital and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois


Lawndale Diabetes Project: A Community-Based Collaboration Between Mount Sinai Hospital and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois


North Lawndale has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the City of Chicago. In 2009, Sinai Urban Health Institute (SUHI) was awarded a highly-competitive major grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to undertake the Block by Block North Lawndale Diabetes Community Action Program.  SUHI’s proposal was ranked in the top 3% of requests received by NIH and was provided $1 million over two years.

This work revealed that North Lawndale had a community prevalence of 29.1%. This is three and a half times the national rate. The diabetes mortality rate in North Lawndale is 62% higher than for the U.S. and 37% than Chicago’s. The childhood overweight and obesity rate in Lawndale is 67% vs. 26% in all of the U.S. Lawndale is considered a “food desert” community, meaning there is a big imbalance between grocery stores providing quality food and the number of fast food outlets selling food high in fat, calories and sugar. One third of Chicago’s “food desert” residents are children.

Block by Block Lawndale was able to reach 348 Type 2 diabetics, and identify and offer FREE diagnostics services and care to another 300 North Lawndale residents at risk for diabetes. However, there is still much work to be done.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) is providing a $1.2 million grant to fund this important community health project with the Sinai Urban Health Institute (SUHI) at Mount Sinai Hospital.

The Lawndale Diabetes Project is a Cooperative Effort Towards Improving the Health of Our Communities. The project will expand to now include the South Lawndale community and residents.

Project Plan:

“It is unreasonable to expect that people will change behavior easily when so many forces in the social, cultural, and physical environment conspire against such change.” -Institute of Medicine

This two-year effort aims to reach 10,000 adults and 2,500 children in North and South Lawndale.

  • The Lawndale Diabetes Project is committed to working with the community to:
    1. Increase knowledge about diabetes risk factors and ways to prevent onset of the disease.
    2. Offer resources to support change and better self-management
    3. Foster individual and community action.
  • Community health educators known as Diabetes Block Captains will conduct household screenings for diabetes and childhood obesity, and will help promote diabetes self-management to their neighbors.
  • For residents willing to participate, the Lawndale Diabetes Project team may provide follow-up home visits and phone calls, offer medical and doctor referrals, free diabetes testing, and invite residents to attend health fairs, healthy cooking schools and diabetes self-management classes.
  • Also, residents can attend fitness classes and social support meetings, Diabetes Learning Circle, to learn from others that have diabetes and are working to make necessary changes towards better health.

To reduce the impact of type 2 diabetes mellitus on the health of residents of North and South Lawndale through a replicable multi-level strategy developed and implemented through a collaboration between the community, Mount Sinai Hospital and Blue cross and Blue Shield of Illinois.
Diabetes Block Captains will visit homes. If residents are willing to participate, they will be asked a brief survey, measure height, weight and blood sugar levels with a minor finger stick, and gather information about medical care they receive, doctors they have visited, medications they take and their diet. Children can be checked for body mass index (BMI) to measure how healthy their weight is, and how physically active they are.

1) To determine whether a multi-level community intervention, featuring an educational campaign, community engagement, and individual self-management training by a “Diabetes Block Captain” will result in a mean reduction of HbA1c greater than 0.5 among persons with Type 2 diabetes mellitus living in a medically underserved urban neighborhood.

2) To demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of a multi-level community intervention resulting from significant improvements in rates of diabetes self-management behaviors among persons with Type 2 diabetes mellitus.
3) To determine whether this multi-level community intervention can improve early detection of diabetes in a medically underserved urban neighborhoods by increasing the number of persons diagnosed by at least 25% over a two-year period.

The foundational bases for the Lawndale Diabetes Project: 

  • Awareness
  • Education
  • Self-Management
  • Community Engagement

The Lawndale Diabetes Project has three (3) target audiences: 

  • Persons who have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes
  • Persons with multiple risk factors for developing type 2 Diabetes
  • The community-at-large

Mount Sinai has an Outpatient Diabetes Education Program. A physician referral and an appointment are required for this particular program. Please call Mount Sinai Hospital’s Central Scheduling at 773-542-2273 to make an appointment. For more information, please contact Shayna Oshita, PhD RD LDN at 773-257-2176 or Kitty River, RN CDE at 773-257-5245.

FREE Dance Classes: Click here to view the flyer for dance classes. Spanish flyer click here.

FREE Yoga & Pilates Classes for Lawndale Diabetes Project enrollees: Click here to view the flyer. Spanish click here.

Know your diabetes ABCs, start a plan. Spanish version click here.

The Lawndale Diabetes Project will share information about its progress during the two-year program. Click here to view the Project summary and community area maps. Spanish version click here.

Project Updates: