Local Impact - New York

St. Regis Mohawk Tribe
Let’s Get Healthy Program

The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe debuted its Diabetes Center for Excellence on February 12, 2014, with a community tribute to the future health and wellness of their People. The vision behind the Diabetes Center for Excellence was to have a home for specialized services focusing on prevention and diabetes management. Diabetes affects 16 percent of Mohawks living on the territory, as compared to the state prevalence rate in New York of 8 percent. The Let’s Get Healthy Program offers family-based education programs in fitness, diabetes health, nutrition and prevention.

"Engaging the community in the promotion of a healthy lifestyle is the mission of the Diabetes Center for Excellence," said Heather Garrow, program manager. Heather goes on to share the following story of the Tribe’s Let’s Get Healthy Program, funded by the Special Diabetes Program for Indians:

The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Let's Get Healthy Program's most successful activity this year was the 7th Annual Twilight Fun Run/Walk Series. The Fun Run/Walk was held at the Tewathahita Walking Trail for two hours every Thursday evening July 10 - August 28, 2015. The Fun Run/Walk series is held to encourage and celebrate healthy physical activity for families. Each week, participants signed in, logged laps, and received water and no-sugar-added popsicles. We also held races for the youngsters. We distributed a small incentive halfway through the series, this year it was a lighted bracelet for safety while walking at night. At the conclusion of the series, those who attended three or more nights received athletic apparel promoting continued physical activity.

At the conclusion of the Fun Run/Walk Series, we asked participants to fill out a survey. All eleven (11) people who completed the survey were "very satisfied" with the activity. The following testimonials were also provided on the survey:

  • "This is a great opportunity for me and my family to exercise together."
  • "I enjoy it and [it is] very challenging indeed, hope you continue the fine work."
  • "Very nice to have lots of people to walk."
  • "It was nice to walk with my family."
  • "Good times. Nice to see so many people."
  • "I love the let's get healthy program."

We also received many informal positive comments from community members. One participant informed us they'd never used the walking trail and would continue to walk daily after the series ended. Another told us her family looked forward to walking each week and they wished we could be there every day.

We are proud to announce that this year, 179 people attended the Fun Run/Walk Series and logged a combined 1,055 laps, which equals 633 miles! We also had a high retention rate despite three weeks of inclement weather. Eighty-one (81) registrants attended two or more nights. Holding the event at Generations Park enabled us to recruit new participants for the Let's Get Healthy Program and provided us an avenue to reach a different and much larger target audience.

In the end, we did not reach our goal for GPRA of 58.6% but we were not far off, finishing the GPRA year at 53.3%. We are proud of our accomplishment in a short timeframe and we hope to exceed our goal next year. In addition to improving our screening rate, we found that:

  1. The staff enjoyed working with the other clinic staff and meeting employees we do not normally see.
  2. The outlying clinics (an hour’s drive away) and nursing home wanted to be included and have developed their own retinal screening days.
  3. We are building a new hospital facility and we identified a need for a full-time retinal screener position once we move into the facility.
  4. Families liked getting an incentive for the screening. One mother gave her incentive to her son who was saving for a bike. He was the one who encouraged her to come in.

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