PLATTSBURGH The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes or eight percent of the American population, with six million of those people unaware they have the disease. On Oct. 21, CVPH Medical Center, the Clinton County Health Department and the Joint Council for Economic Opportunity of Clinton and Franklin Counties Inc. released Community Health: Collaboration in Action, a video showcasing their project known as the North Country Diabetes Program. The video, which debuted in time for Novembers American Diabetes Month, was a project more than two years in the making. It was then, CCHD noticed the high number of diabetes-related complications such as amputations and end-stage renal cancer, explained CCHD director Paula Calkins Lacombe. So, we began to realize, is this because we have undiagnosed people in the community, or is it because weve got people who are poorly managed, Calkins Lacombe stated in the video. After looking at the statistics, CCHD began to look for a collaboration within the community who had the expertise and resources that could be pulled to the table to look at diabetes, said Calkins Lacombe. CVPH and JCEO became the partners CCHD needed. I remember being struck in the first conversation with just how excited all parties were about coming together to address a common need that everyone thought was not being met at the time, CVPH president and chief executive officer Stephens C. Mundy said in the video. The program helps with diabetes self-management, insulin training and pump training, blood glucose monitoring, support groups, medical nutrition therapy, and provides individual consultations with diabetes educators. Its the only American Diabetes Association-certified program for diabetes in Clinton County. To make the program a success, the organizations received a three-year grant from the Department of Health Resources and Services Administration which covered 73 percent of the total costs nearly $373,000 leaving CCHD, CVPH and JCEO to cover the other 23 percent through donations. [The grant] came in phases, where there was the education piece, with the hospital, they had to get certified, explained Calkins Lacombe. [CCHD] developed the outreach program and started sensitizing the community to diabetes and what its about and whos at risk. JCEO came into play with the transportation phase, as well as assisting with outreach. They will provide transportation for diabetic patients to get treatment. The outreach needed to be done for the program includes presentations and surveys being done in the community as well as establishing a referral system with local physicians to send patients into the diabetes management program. The video conveying the diabetes program not only serves to help the community understand what the program is about, but will also be used state-wide to promote the idea of collaborations between hospitals and local health care groups. Weve been all around the state, promoting the idea that hospitals and acute health care providers and public health-minded people need to work together to accomplish goals, said state Department of Health commissioner Dr. Richard F. Daines. To showcase collaborations between public health and health care is really the only way were going to achieve our public health outcomes and our public health priorities, added Sylvia Pirani, director of the NYSDOH Office of Public Health Practice. We at public health get accused of using data to tell the story too many times ... So, this time we wanted to tell the story of a local community heath collaboration in a different way. Those interested in more information about the North Country Diabetes Program, are encouraged to contact their regular physician or call 562-7326.