Trio's diabetes health initiative will have community-centric focus

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT Walgreens. YMCA. UnitedHealth Group. Two nationally known yet locally focused and health-interested organizations are partnering on a health initiative with a third organization, which marks the first time a health plan will play for evidence-based diabetes prevention and control programs. That future heralded so many years ago by the Asheville Project may finally have arrived.

(THE NEWS Walgreens becomes founding partner of Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance. For the full story, click here)

And it’s a health initiative that will be grounded in the local community. Walgreens has certainly made a commitment to get more local in the past year — changing its operations structure and sending the VPs to live back out in the communities they operate, for example. And YMCA already is an integral part of the fabric for many local communities.

Consider this, the 2,686 YMCA centers in communities that are serving more than 20.9 million members are already committed to “directly address [the] nation's growing health crisis” through its Activate America initiative. And the two tenets of Activate America are: 1) we will support healthy lifestyles by reaching out and engaging all those who seek well-being of spirit, mind and body; and 2) we will create and sustain healthier communities by actively participating in our communities and connecting our networks and resources to influence decisions that impact health.

That doesn’t sound too different from the underlying objectives of either Walgreens pharmacy or Take Care Health Systems’ retail clinics in serving their own local patient populations, especially now that Walgreens in the past year dispatched its 29 regional VPs out of the chain’s Chicago headquarters and into their respective regional offices with a singular vision — be more responsive to community needs.

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