Navajo diabetes program attends national diabetes committee meeting

<i>Courtesy photo</i><br>
Evelyn Acothley (center), member of Navajo Health and Social Services Committee of the Navajo Nation Council and the National Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee, consults with Karen Bachman-Carter (right), Nutritionist and Navajo Area Indian Health Service (NAIHS) Consultant, and Robert Nakai during a break at the National Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee meeting on Feb. 19.

<i>Courtesy photo</i><br> Evelyn Acothley (center), member of Navajo Health and Social Services Committee of the Navajo Nation Council and the National Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee, consults with Karen Bachman-Carter (right), Nutritionist and Navajo Area Indian Health Service (NAIHS) Consultant, and Robert Nakai during a break at the National Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee meeting on Feb. 19.

SANTA ROSA, Calif. - The National Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee (TLDC) held their quarterly meeting at the Santa Rosa Hyatt last month to discuss the tribal consultations recommendations that were made from 12 areas across the United States from tribal diabetes programs during the past two months.

Evelyn Acothley, Navajo representative on the TLDC, presented the recommendations that were made from the Navajo Area and spoke on behalf of the Navajo Special Diabetes Project. The Navajo recommendations were defeated on all counts by the smaller tribes throughout the day on Feb. 19 by a vote of 7-4-0 most of the time on questions that were presented. The Alaska Area and Portland Area were consistent in voting with the Navajo Area, but the smaller tribes stuck together in protecting their interest. The Billings Area did not have a representative so they did not have a vote.

The questions presented for consultation were:

• Should the annual distribution of funding be the same according to the formula that has been used in the past? The Navajo Area recommended that the funding formula remain the same along with the other tribes with updated data. The vote was 11-0-0.

• Should the Demonstration Projects now funded at $27.4 million remain the same with 66 Grantees? The Navajo Area recommended discontinuing funding of the 66 demonstration projects and putting the funds into the Community-Directed Grant Pool, and distributing these funds according to the established funding formula. This was voted to remain the same with a vote of 8-3-0.

• Should the set-aside for National and Area data infrastructure improvement remain the same? The Navajo Area/Navajo Area SDPI grantees recommend discontinuing funding of $5.2 million and putting these funds in the community-directed grant pool, and distributing these funds according to the established funding formula. The vote was 8-3-0 again.

• Should the set-aside for Urban Indian Health Programs of $7.5 million remain the same for 34 grantees? The Navajo Area supported this measure and voted with rest of the tribes to have it remain the same. The vote was 11-0-0 in support of the urban programs.

• Should the set-aside for the CDC Native Diabetes Wellness Program of $1million remain the same? Again, the Navajo Area/Navajo Area SDPI grantees recommended putting these funds into the community-directed grant pool and distributing according to the established funding formula. The other tribes voted to have it remain the same. The vote was 7-5-0.

• Should the Administrative Support funding remain the same of $4.1 million from the Community-Directed Grant program? The Navajo Area/Navajo Area SDPI recommended maintaining $4.1 million for the administration support of the community-directed grant programs, but the vote was 11-1-0.

• Should $4.1 million from the Administrative Support Funding for Demonstration Project remain the same? The Navajo Area voted to put the funding into community-directed grant pool, and distributing the funds according to funding formula, but again the other tribes voted differently 7-4-0.

• Should the eligible entities apply for SDPI grants remain the same? The Navajo Area recommended maintaining the current eligible entities apply for SDPI funding including tribes, tribal organizations, Indian Health Service, and Urban Indian Health Programs.

The Navajo Area recommended maintaining the current application process that allows applicants that do not meet the minimum criteria the opportunity to revise their application based on feedback from the reviewers. It also recommended accelerating the timeframe for award of grants. The Navajo Area recommended that application reviewers consist of representatives from tribal, federal, urban, rural, academia, and medical/clinical/public health backgrounds; knowledge of diabetes and Native American cultures, and those who are ethical and fair.

On the morning of Feb. 20, the TLDC had a telephone conference with Robert G. McSwain, Indian Health Service director and the approved recommendations were made to him. He gave his support and said that he would continue to work with tribal leaders in meeting the needs in diabetes education and prevention programs.

All in all, this means that funding should be the same for the Navajo Area/Navajo Area SDPI Grantees in the next budget cycle unless changes occur in the allocation process.

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