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Imagine how Black Americans are more likely to experience complications from diabetes. With the rates of diabetic retinopathy being 46 percent higher in African Americans than non-Hispanic whites. That's the reality for millions of African Americans, myself included. As a Black man diagnosed with diabetes, I was shocked to discover the staggering health disparities our community faces. 1 in 3 Black adults has diabetes. We experience worse outcomes, higher complication rates, and receive unequal healthcare. This is unacceptable.


That's why I co-founded the African American Diabetes Association (AADA), the only national Black-led and Black-benefiting nonprofit diabetes organization specifically established and dedicated to tackling diabetes health disparities in the U.S for Blacks/African Americans.  As an African American and diabetic myself, when I first learned I have diabetes I went searching for answers.


​I learned racial and ethnic minorities bear a disproportionate burden of the diabetes epidemic; we have higher prevalence rates, worse diabetes control, and higher rates of complications. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health, 13.4% of Black men and 12.7% of Black women have been diagnosed with diabetes. Combined, their rate is 60% higher than that of white people. In the U.S., Black people are twice as likely as their white counterparts to die of diabetes. We are three times as likely to end up hospitalized for diabetes-related complications.

We are more than twice as likely to undergo diabetes-related leg or foot amputation, and we are more than three times as likely to have end-stage kidney disease. 

I began to work with several Black men, Black women, and Black youth impacted by diabetes to establish an organic Board of Directors for the African American Diabetes Association.


We are now a nonprofit 501c3 tax-exempt organization.

One of the critical purposes of the African American Diabetes Association is to educate African-Americans and the general public about having a higher diabetes disease burden and the disparities in the quality of care we receive. We also want to educate African-Americans and the general public, about culturally tailored healthcare interventions and products that seek to improve diabetes care and have the potential to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities among racial/ethnic populations. Our goal is to provide African American diabetics and their families, with effective information, projects, programs, and strategies to reduce diabetes and reduce health disparities within the United States.


Please Join our effort, by volunteering, joining AADA, donating, and/or creating a local African American Diabetes Association Chapter in your community. ​


Leon Nathaniel Rock M. Ed. 

Co-Founder and CEO 


Daily Drum at Howard University
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