Allen Hazen

What India Can Teach Indiana About Fighting Diabetes

The developing world is where some of the more innovative strategies against diseases have been developed. To a certain extent, this is out of necessity — poorer communities have higher burdens of preventable diseases. But now, some interventions designed for the developing world are being deployed to poorer communities in the United States.

On the line to discuss how strategies honed in the developing world can help three poor neighborhoods of the city of Indianapolis, Indiana tackle high rates of diabetes is Amy Israel. She is the global health thought leadership and policy director for the health and pharmaceutical company Lilly which has launched a new pilot based on the “community health worker” model deployed in countries like India.

The “community health worker model” is a strategy for training people of the community to be the first points-of-contact between their neighbors and the health care system. It is used widely in countries like India, Ethiopia, Bangladesh and throughout much of the developing world.

In our conversation, Amy discusses how the pilot project will work with three poorer neighborhoods of Indianapolis, where rates of diabetes are exponentially higher than in wealthier parts of the city and state. We discuss the link between diabetes and poverty and also, more broadly, how health ideas created in the developing world are being applied here in the United States.

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