Chickasaw Nation Hosts SDPI Visit with Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole

On January 9th, the Chickasaw Nation Diabetes Care Center hosted an SDPI site visit with Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) at the Chickasaw Nation Diabetes Care Center in Ada, OK. The visit by Rep. Cole came one week after Congress voted to renew the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) for one-year at the current funding level of $150 million annually as part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. With this renewal, SDPI programs established throughout Indian Country can continue through September 2014 to make a real difference in the lives of people in Tribal communities who fight diabetes on a daily basis.

At the conclusion of the tour, Rep. Cole said, “The Chickasaw Nation Diabetes Care Center sets the standard for fighting diabetes in Indian Country. I have seen a number of similar facilities and this Center is probably the premier diabetes prevention, treatment, and research center in Indian Country.” The Chickasaw Nation Diabetes Care Center receives funding through SDPI to provide services that focus on the prevention of diabetes as well as education to assist patients minimize diabetes-related complications, which include amputations, blindness, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and gum disease.

“Think of how much money we spend on health care as a federal government or state government in this country. It’s extraordinary,” said Rep. Cole. “One out of three dollars in the health care system is going to treat diabetes. So, from a federal standpoint, seeing first-hand the investment we made in the Chickasaw Nation through SDPI funding is great.”

Rep. Cole is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and serves the 4th Congressional District in Oklahoma. As one of only two American Indians currently serving in Congress, Rep. Cole has continued to strongly support the SDPI and further pledged his support by signing a bipartisan Congressional SDPI Support Letter circulated in the House of Representatives last year.

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