Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in Chicago. African Americans are twice as likely to develop diabetes as Caucasian Americans, and approximately 10 percent of Hispanic Americans have diabetes.

Diabetes affects more than 20 million people in the United States with problems to the eyes, kidneys, feet and heart. More than 225,000 people die from the disease annually.

These stats are alarming to many. However now, Access Community Health Network, the largest network of community health centers in the nation and a provider of healthcare for low-income people, is working to help lower these numbers.

Supported with a $100,000 grant from Humana, ACCESS is rolling out a new Diabetes Care and Self-Management program at its 43 community health centers.

The kickoff ceremony for the program will take place at 10 in the morning Monday Jan. 9, at ACCESS Booker Family Health Center, 654 E. 47th St.

“ACCESS is honored to be chosen as the recipient of the Humana Chicago Benefits Award,” said ACCESS CEO Donna Thompson.

“These funds will further our mission by helping us provide quality, specialized health care services to more than 8,000 low-income diabetic patients living in the Chicagoland area.”

The event will include various interviews with diabetes patients and tours of the health center. Booths providing detailed information about diabetes will be available after the ceremony.

Among the many scheduled to attend the event: Congressman Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), State Representative Will Davis (D-Hazel Crest), Humana-Illinois CEO Hasaan Rifaat, and the American Diabetes Association.

The program is aimed primarily at providing resources such as health care and education, and self-management tools for thousands of patients.

ACCESS was one of four finalists considered for Humana’s Chicago Benefits Award.

For more information about this event, please call Elaine Hegwood Bowen, Media Coordinator, at 773/257-6599 or 773/575-8134.