Guilford County doesn’t do a whole lot of partnering with Alamance County, however, the two counties are coming together to help prevent diabetes among minority populations in the area.  Minority communities are often hit hardest by the disease that’s become one of the most prevalent in modern day America.

The new interlocal agreement between Guilford County and Alamance County will be a four-year initiative that will bring the health departments in the two counties together to implement the effort – the one with the somewhat uninspired name of “Minority Diabetes Prevention Program.”

According to a memo from the Guilford County Health Department to the county commissioners, this will be an “evidence-based program funded through NC Division of Public Health/ Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities… with a goal to increase access to diabetes prevention programs for minorities.”

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners is expected to approve the move at the meeting on Thursday, July 18.

Through this agreement, the Alamance County Public Health Department and the Guilford County Health Department will conduct screenings for the disease in minority communities as well as hold educational events that encourage lifestyle changes to combat it.  Guilford County is getting about $21,000 from the state to help fund its participation in the program in the current fiscal year that started on July 1.

According to the American Diabetes Association, every day more than 4,000 people are newly diagnosed with the disease in this country. Some of the warning signs are increased thirst and hunger for no apparent reason and a need for more frequent urination.

Guilford County has been focusing on minority diabetes for some time. Last year, the Rhino Times wrote about the concern and at that time Guilford County Health Director Merle Green said this was a very big problem among minorities especially.

“When we look at the statistics, minority populations have worse outcomes for a number of diseases,” Green said last year.

She said that was true not only for diabetes but also for other health issues such as high blood pressure and breast cancer.

“Minority populations die at a higher rate,” she said, adding that diabetes was one disease where the disparity is prevalent.

Some studies have found that diabetes surprisingly hits minorities harder even when variables such as access to insurance, medical care and prescription drugs are controlled.

According to Green, data shows that minorities with diabetes have more amputations, take more sick days and get more hospitalizations due to the disease.