Local Impact - South Dakota

Pete Fills the Pipe, Oglala Lakota

Pine Ridge IHS Diabetes Prevention Program

"My blood sugars are now in normal range, my blood pressure is good and I feel good. It’s been the high point in my life, being diabetes free."
- Pete Fills the Pipe

I didn’t know about pre-diabetes until this program. Our whole reservation is high risk for poverty, stress, suicide and diabetes. When I found out I was pre-diabetic, it was a trauma for me. I’m 58 years old and most of my friends and cousins are gone now from either diabetes or alcoholism. We’ve had to eat what was given to us since we’ve been on the reservation. You know, the food distribution programs weren’t so good. It’s changed now, this program teaches us how to eat and cook to be healthy and to exercise everyday. I walk 2.5 miles a day now.

My traditional belief is to respect life and that includes my body. You have to take care of your whole self, spiritually, emotionally and physically. Whatever is hard in your life you can pray and it will help you, but you have to meet the Creator half way. The program has helped me learn how to live a healthy lifestyle. I started by making small changes. It’s been hard changing my habits and I’ve had to discipline myself but it’s worth it. In our culture, in everything you do, you feed the people. It’s part of our tradition, its how we honor each other. But you know what - it doesn’t hurt to say “no” to unhealthy food or eat a smaller amount or feed the people something good for them. The program has helped me learn this. Our people go through this program and we learn and share this with our families. We become mentors. We’re just now beginning to see the results of this program in our communities. I believe our diabetes rates are going down because of this program. It’s become part of our healing, keeping ourselves in balance.

Diabetes in South Dakota

According to 2008 CDC data, approximately 39,000 people in South Dakota – 6.1% of the state’s population – had diagnosed diabetes, and many of them suffer from serious diabetes related complications or conditions. In addition to the human toll diabetes places on people in South Dakota, the financial burden diabetes places on the state’s health system is staggering – in 2007, the direct and indirect cost of diabetes in South Dakota was approximately $386 million.

Stories & Progams

Diabetes Program Participants
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Diabetes Care Providers
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The Poarch Creek Indian Community
Community Diabetes Support Group


Charlotte McConnell
SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Lifestyle Balance and Diabetes Prevention Program

Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation
Annual Diabetes Walk

Southcentral Foundation Special Diabetes Program for Indians


Celia Milner
CHR Department, Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians

Marlene Valentine -
Navajo Special Diabetes Project

Rudy Clark
Hualapai Healthy Heart Project


Case Manager
United American Indian Involvement

Jackie Patton
Chapa-De Indian Clinic

Amy Lemmer
Sonoma County Indian Health Project

Alberta Manuel
Sonoma County Indian Health


Mohegan Tribe
Uncasville, CT


Anela Lautalo


Christie Lussoro
Nimiipuu Health Diabetes Program


Becky Youngbear-Alvarado
Meskwaki Diabetes Prevention Program


Stephanie Crawford
Haskell Health Center Diabetes Prevention Program


Jena Band of Choctaw Indians


Aroostook Band of MicMac


Tracy L. Sagataw
Hannahville Indian Community Clinic Diabetes Program

Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
Sault Ste. Marie, MI

Rebecca Price
Pokagon Health Services Special Diabetes Program for Indians


Arne Vainio, MD
Fond du Lac Human Services Diabetes Prevention Program


Pastor Thomas Ben
Fond du Lac Human Services Diabetes Prevention Program

Samuel Amos
Fond du Lac Human Services Diabetes Prevention Program


Faye Filesteel
Fort Belknap Healthy Heart Project


Clarissa Hoffman
Ho-Chunk Hope Diabetes Prevention

New Mexico

Judy Reuter
Santa Ana Pueblo
Elsie R. Pino
Ramah Navajo Heart Saver Project
Erlene Sandoval
Navajo Special Diabetes Project

New York

St. Regis Mohawk Tribe
Let’s Get Healthy Program

North Carolina

Ulela Harris
Cherokee Diabetes Program

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
Cherokee, NC

North Dakota

Cheryl Donoven
On Eagles Wings Diabetes Prevention Program


Terry Williams
Black Hawk Health Center

Allen Dale
Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC) Get SET & Fight Diabetes program

Read more about OKCIC (PDF)

Glendine Blanchard
Absentee Shawnee Tribe Healthy Heart Program


Dylan Jones
NARA Northwest

Taylor David
Klamath Diabetes Prevention Program Cow Creek Consortium

Shirley Heath
Warm Springs Oregon Diabetes Prevention Program

Jennifer Smith
Warm Springs Oregon Diabetes Prevention Program

Larry Smith
Warm Springs Oregon Diabetes Prevention Program

Rhode Island

Mary Lou Stanton
Narangansett Indian Health Clinic-Diabetes Program

South Carolina

Catawba Indian Nation
Special Diabetes Program for Indians

South Dakota

Pete Fills the Pipe
Pine Ridge IHS Diabetes Prevention Program


Reggie Martinez
Uintah & Ouray IHS Clinic - Healthy Heart Project


Christina Hicks
SDPI-Community Direct Diabetes Grant
Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation

Buddy and Les Hoptowit (Brothers)
Yakama Indian Health Center Healthy Heart Project


Marion Reynolds
St. Croix Healthy Heart Program

Wanda McFaggen
St. Croix Healthy Heart Program

Wendell Waukau
Menominee Diabetes Program


Regina Whiteplume
Eastern Shoshone Diabetes Program