November is Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes is no stranger to modern, Indigenous communities. However, despite its prevalence, this diagnosis is still shrouded in myths. At De dwa da dehs nye>s, it is our approach to marry knowledge and experience as the best way to educate our community.

We do this with the hope that this approach will change the trajectory of a diabetes epidemic, one person at a time. It is our belief that by supporting an individual through their personal health practices, instilling confidence and inspiring action, that change can happen.
Through our program development, it is our intention to nurture the success of our community members who live with diabetes, their families, and the multitudes that hang in the balance of risk. As an example, we offer an adult education course that provides clinical knowledge in a way that makes sense for all people that walk through our doors. As part of a new approach to community programming at De dwa da dehs nye>s, health promotion and the diabetes team have joined together to develop different way of empowering our clients to learn more, manage better, and in some cases, prevent diabetes altogether.

Both programs share a common objective: to teach individuals how to be meaningful partners in their own health care, and to be healthy within their experience, by living in the now while respecting the past. Our newly developed and launched diabetes education course is what we call “The Essential Course” for People living with Diabetes, their families and those at risk.

This course provides our community with an overview of diabetes, whilst respecting the personal journey through navigating the course of living with a chronic illness. Our learning environment is one that focuses on open discussion and shared experiences. As part of the journey, there is an opportunity for participants to reflect on their beliefs, coping and decision-making styles.

The learning environment allows opportunity for:

1) Getting the facts and building on what you know;
2) Learning what is new; using it to your best advantage;
3) Knowing your risk, managing your risk, making good decisions;
4) Asking questions; sharing wisdom and;
5) Respecting the gift of health

The many programs offered within the Aboriginal Health Centre are committed to the goal of balance for an individual to live their best life. We offer support and information to people who have the strength and wisdom that they carry from their own journey.

Christine Patterson is a Diabetes Nurse Educator and Anastasia Blackey, Manager of Health Promotions and Education Services with De dwa da dehs nye>s.

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