Claire Hutkins Seda, Senior Writer & Editor, Migrant Clinicians Network
At St. Clare Health Mission’s clinic in rural La Crosse, Wisconsin, Krishi Korrapati was struggling to find sufficient diabetes materials for the patients who are newly diagnosed with diabetes at the clinic. Entirely staffed by volunteers and supported by two local hospitals, the clinic provides basic health care treatment for those without health insurance and who are ineligible for Medicaid through weekly drop-in evening clinics. Diabetes is one of several chronic concerns that are routinely diagnosed.
If a patient’s A1c is greater than 8, “we sign them up for a chronic clinic day, the first Wednesday of every month,” Korrapati noted. “They’ll sit down with the specialist doctor and learn about the lifestyle changes that need to be made.” They may also be referred for further specialty care to the two hospitals that fund the clinic.
For those whose diabetes is not as severe, the clinic had limited materials on what it means to have diabetes and how to live with it. One of the specialists, Korrapati recalled, had seen Migrant Clinicians Network’s diabetes comic book, “Mi salud es mi tesoro,” and requested that the clinic offer it in English – and so, after St. Clare Health Mission’s workers got to work translating, My Health is My Treasure was born.
“The comic book was really simple, so it could inform patients who are newly diagnosed,” Korrapati said. “It was a little counterintuitive to take this resource and translate it, as it’s meant for a Spanish-speaking population, but the information was nicely distilled so we worked with a translator to get it into English.”
The comic book, intended initially for a Spanish-speaking farmworker community, is now being used among English-speaking patients who work in furniture or at local restaurants, far outside of the farmworker sphere, and yet such patients still need the same basic information. St. Clare Health Mission has augmented the comic book with booklets from the American Diabetes Association along with some Spanish-language materials.
MCN now hosts the English translation of the comic book on our comic book page as well, ensuring that St. Clare Health Mission’s work can be useful to other clinics across the country: https://bit.ly/3NJkKsW. MCN is also preparing to print copies of the comic book in English and Spanish. The comic book will soon be offered in a Caribbean Spanish version as well, which features adjusted menus to fit Caribbean cultures. Watch MCN’s active blog for updates to reserve your copies; due to limited funding, copies run out quickly: https://www.migrantclinician.org/community/blog.html
MCN has worked for decades to improve access to information and resources on diabetes, and continues to work on diabetes considering emerging concerns. MCN works with partner organizations to build community-based emergency management plans for patients with diabetes, a critical concern as the climate crisis progresses, and weather-related emergencies occur with more frequency and severity, and in areas unused to such disturbances. MCN is also watching long COVID, which may be more common in patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes.
Learn more about how diabetes affects migrant and immigrant populations on our diabetes page: https://www.migrantclinician.org/issues/diabetes
Access MCN's diabetes comic book, now in English and Spanish: https://bit.ly/3NJkKsW
Learn more about St. Clare Health Mission: http://stclarehealthmission.org/
Watch our Upcoming Webinars page for new learning opportunities on diabetes and other health concerns for migrants and immigrants: https://www.migrantclinician.org/trainings.html
Read this article in the Spring 2022 issue of Streamline here!
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