Friday, May 11, 2007

Good News for South Dallas

I was delighted to read in yesterday's Morning News that Baylor Health Care System is planning to build a Diabetes Prevention and Treatment Center in the Frazier Courts neighborhood in South Dallas. As I read the article two familiar names jumped out at me. Dr. Jim Walton has been an active partner with Central Dallas Ministries in providing health services to the poor, and Don Williams is one of my heroes, a man I greatly admire.

There are a number of reasons why this is good news for that community - one reason is simply that it brings a positive and needed resource to a much neglected area. A second is the pervasiveness of Diabetes and Diabete-related issues among the poor. The lack of grocery stores in the neighborhood, the lack of health care, the general lack or resources all are contributing factors to a Diabetes rate in South Dallas that is nearly 3 times the national average.

I've copied part of the article below...

"We're trying to not [only] treat symptoms, and a lot of times diabetes – the disease of diabetes – really could just represent a symptom of something more," said Dr. James W. Walton, vice president and chief health equity officer at Baylor.
The goal, Dr. Walton said, is for the center to function as a base for health workers dispatched into the community to provide screening and lifestyle education.

"A lot of the work happens away from the center, it happens away from the community, at the school," Dr. Walton said. "We have this vision of block captains, people that work from other locations in the community in order to achieve the objectives. "

But programming based at the center would also focus on factors traditionally outside the realm of most health care systems. For example, governmental entities, nonprofits, religious groups and other community organizations would be brought in to collaborate and combat unemployment, poverty, lack of education and the absence of grocery stores, housing and economic development.

"The problems are so entrenched in the South Dallas-Fair Park area that it's got to be something very comprehensive," said Marcus Martin, director of the J. McDonald Williams Institute, a key collaborator with Baylor on the project. The Institute is the research arm of the nonprofit Foundation for Community Empowerment.

In 2004, the hospital discharge rate per 100,000 residents due to long-term complications from the disease was 320 in South Dallas, according to statistics compiled by Parkland Memorial Hospital. The rate was about 110 per 100,000 residents countywide and 120 statewide.

1 comment:

Jeremy Gregg said...

It is good news, indeed! Dr. Walton has been an amazing leader in our community, and we at CDM are thankful for his commitment to supporting our neighbors.

Jeremy Gregg
Director of Development
Central Dallas Ministries