The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Office of Community Health & Research and AR Health Ventures have partnered with other institutions in the state to enhance diabetes self-management education in rural Arkansas.

This initiative, called Reaching Every Arkansan by Connecting Health (REACH) Resources to Reduce Diabetes Disparities, has been financed by the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

It aims to improve access to diabetes education and support for rural and underserved populations in 61 high-need counties in Arkansas.

The programme will facilitate the development of diabetes self-management programmes in rural pharmacies and train community health workers to assist diabetes patients.

This collaboration includes several organisations, including the UAMS Office of Community Health & Research, AR Health Ventures, the Arkansas Community Health Worker Association, and the Arkansas Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network.

Approximately 14% of Arkansas’s population, equating to over 300,000 individuals, have been diagnosed with diabetes, revealed American Diabetes Association.

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It also stated that another 70,000 people in the state have diabetes that has not been diagnosed.

The initiative targets counties identified by the CDC as high-need and will contribute to reducing health disparities in the state.

UAMS Office of Community Health & Research division director Pearl McElfish said: “Our goal is to ensure every Arkansan has the opportunity for optimal health, and this programme will allow us to reach more people with diabetes to support their well-being.”

UAMS operates a state-wide health system, serving as the only adult Level 1 trauma centre in Arkansas.

With a workforce of over 12,000, including 1,200 physicians, it provides care at UAMS facilities, regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center, and Baptist Health.