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PA cAARds! Initiative Combats Effects of Chronic Disease

Friday, May 7, 2010 Press Release J E 4
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Tackling Tobacco Use among Pennsylvanians with Diabetes

PHILADELPHIA, May 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Take a person with diabetes, add tobacco use or exposure and the potential for severe health risks multiplies dramatically. Tobacco use by those with diabetes increases insulin resistance, negatively impacts diabetes control and multiplies diabetes-related complications. In response, Health Promotion Council (HPC), an affiliate of Public Health Management Corporation, received a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health's Diabetes and Tobacco Prevention and Control Programs to develop and implement PA cAARds! The statewide, integrated initiative trains Pennsylvania health professionals to use a brief intervention process to refer clients and patients to diabetes education/self-management and tobacco cessation services.

The initiative targets public health professionals such as physicians, nurses, diabetes educators, pharmacists, tobacco cessation specialists, social workers and paraprofessionals. PA cAARds! proactively addresses the dual risks of unmanaged diabetes and tobacco use and exposure by utilizing a brief intervention process and maximizing regional and statewide resources.

HPC plans to host two educational sessions in each of Pennsylvania's six health districts over the next three years, with a goal of training and mentoring a minimum of 300 organizations. "We want every single diabetes educator in Pennsylvania to ask every one of their patients with diabetes, 'Do you smoke or are you exposed to smoke?' and then refer those patients to the appropriate services," says Marlin Williams, program director of PA cAARds! "And we want the tobacco professionals to ask, 'Do you have diabetes or have you ever been told you are at risk?'"

As part of the initiative, which begins in western Pennsylvania during the month of June, professionals trained to use the Ask, Advise, Refer brief intervention process will cross-refer their clients and patients to diabetes education/self-management and tobacco cessation services. This process adapts California's "Do you cAARd!" program developed for diabetes health professionals by the California Diabetes Program and California Smoker's Helpline. HPC, in collaboration with the Department of Health, adapted this program and made it bi-directional to meet the needs of tobacco control professionals as well.

HPC's work with PA cAARds! began as the result of its integration strategy four years ago through the BE A BRIDGE project, a state-wide multi-disciplinary collaborative that helps improve the health of Pennsylvanians disparately affected by tobacco related chronic diseases. "Due to the complex and overwhelming relationship between diabetes and tobacco use or exposure, addressing the harmful impact requires an integrated approach that emphasizes communication across disciplines," says Williams. To learn more about training dates, registration and other information, visit the PA cAARds! website at http://beabridge.org/pacaards.

About HPC

The mission of Health Promotion Council (HPC) is to promote health, and prevent and manage chronic disease, especially among vulnerable populations through community-based outreach, education, and advocacy. HPC's unique programs advocating healthier lifestyles, together with its innovative work with underrepresented minority groups, have advanced the field of health promotion in Southeastern Pennsylvania and across the state. Established in 1981, HPC became an affiliate of Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), formerly known as The Philadelphia Health Management Corporation, a leading public health institute in the region, in 1999. For more information on HPC, visit www.hpcpa.org

About PHMC

Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that builds healthier communities through partnerships with government, foundations, businesses and other community-based organizations. It fulfills its mission to improve the health of the community by providing outreach, health promotion, education, research, planning, technical assistance and direct services. PHMC has served the Greater Philadelphia region since 1972. For more information on PHMC, visit www.phmc.org.

SOURCE Public Health Management Corporation
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