Leon Nathaniel Rock, M.Ed.
A Message from the Co-Founder and CEO
Significant diabetes disparities exist among racial/ethnic minorities in both health outcomes and quality of care. With the aging of the U.S. population and the rising prevalence of chronic diseases, these disparities have important public health implications for the near future. 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. The statistics are stark. 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.
Then I learned that there was no national organization specifically established to address health disparities for African American diabetics and their families. I began to work with a number of Black men, Black women 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.
As a nonprofit organization, the African American Diabetes Association will work to reduce diabetes disparities and identify promising culturally tailored areas for future interventions. 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