The fourth issue of the Novo Nordisk BlueSheet examines the disparity in diabetes prevention and care in racial and ethnic communities in the US, highlighting the Native American Communities which have one of the highest rates of diabetes in the country. Featured is an interview with Dr. Donald Warne, director of the Office of Native American Health at Sanford Health whose office serves nearly 300,000 Native Americans in 28 tribes.
While Native Americans have the highest per capita incidence of diabetes in the United States, aid for medical needs and health care for Native Americans is significantly underfunded. Indian Health Services, the division of U.S. Health and Human Services that focuses on the concerns of Native Americans, receives approximately $2,000 per person per year, while Medicare is funded at more than $7,000 per person per year and Medicaid is financed at nearly $4,000 per person per year.
The risk for diabetes is more than twice as high in Native Americans than in non-Hispanic whites, and the consequences of poor diabetes control, including kidney disease, blindness, and limb amputations are devastating to Native Americans. For example, the rate of diabetes-related kidney failure is 3.5 times higher among Native Americans than in the general U.S. population.