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‘The Island of Flatbush’ Diabetes Task Force launched

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Dec. 3, 2016 marked the grand official launching of “The Island of Flatbush,” a geographic area mapped out of Central Brooklyn that is known to be the largest concentration of West Indian people, anywhere in America, outside of the Caribbean, at which a Diabetes Task Force was launched.

This community is currently being ravished with an epidemic of diabetes and its consequent complications of kidney disease, blindness, amputations, obesity, hypertension, heart disease and more, according to organizers, New Creation Community Health Empowerment Inc. (NCCHE), a community-based health organization established in Central Brooklyn since the early 1980s.

The group said it has developed a 20/20 vision for effectively dealing with this problem.

“Never has there been seen so many dialysis centers opening up in the Flatbush community, like the present,” said the group, pointing out that its vision is to reverse the incidence of diabetes and its complications by 20 percent by the year 2020 on the “Island of Flatbush.”

NCCHE said it did this through the establishment of “The Island of Flatbush Diabetes Task Force,” a task force comprising 300 churches, Islamic centers, community centers and community-based organizations, among others, “to wage an aggressive warfare on this epidemic of diabetes.”

‘The Island of Flatbush’ Diabetes Task Force was launched with a ribbon cutting ceremony endorsed by Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Assistant Commissioner Dr. Torian Easterling and led by Minister John Williams, founder / president of New Creations Community Health Empowerment Inc.

Surrounded by the event’s strategic planning committee members and partners, including three members from Vanderveer and Health Educators Lions Clubs — Esline Green, Donna Budai and Yoreel Fraser — as well as Kingsbrook Jewish Hospital, Kings County Hospital, the Borough of Brooklyn Interfaith Advisory Group, among others.

More than 400 guests who attended the symposium received valuable information about diabetes and eye health, how to keep your heart healthy and the importance of reducing stress through spiritual health.

Williams told his personal story about his family history and challenges with diabetes and how he was able to reduce his glucose level from almost 600 and a 12.8 HG A1c to normal and get off medication by changing his lifestyle and moving towards a plant based diet.

He said that “diabetes is a national security crisis and that we have to beat it by waging an aggressive warfare against it” and that the complementary approach of combining the medical with lifestyle intervention will be the “Battle Plan to Win.”

Key note speaker, Dr. Easterling, spoke about the structural barriers, interpersonal and internal racism, and health disparities in different neighborhoods and that these were nothing new.

He mentioned the need for more partnerships, accountable leadership, collaboration and cooperation.

Dr. Monica Urkell, the ophthalmologist from Weill Cornell Medical Center, spoke about the difficulty people with diabetes have when the disease progresses.

Dr. Urkell said changing lifestyle was one of the ways to treat or prevent heart disease and reducing the stress should not be left to chance, and using urgent care was important.

The Health EXPO featured Kingsbrook Jewish, Kings County, SUNY Downstate, Brookdale, Brooklyn and Interfaith Hospitals, Weill Cornell Medicine, providing medical and health screenings and other education and information sessions, along with other Community-Based and Health Organizations like: CAMBA, YMCA, Caribbean Women’s Health Association, NYC Department Of Health and Mental Hygiene, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, Alzheimer’s Association of NY, Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, Bureau of Maternal and Child Health NYS Department of Health, APC Community Services, West Indian American Day Carnival Association, Caribbean American Chambers of Commerce and Industry and others.

In the Natural Healthy Lifestyle Pavilion participants were provided with valuable educational features and treatments by the Northeastern Conference of SDA Health EXPO Enterprises, led by Elder Anstie Small and a team of medical missionaries and lifestyle coaches, featuring a circuit of 10 to 15 stations dealing with the eight principles of health, which is referred to as the N E W S T A R T – Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sunlight, Temperance, Air, Rest, and Trust in Divine.

Now that the 20 / 20 Vision initiative has been launched, and the partnership with the medical establishments has been established, NCCHE said the first quarter of 2017 will be used to recruit the 300 churches, Islamic centers / mosques, synagogues and community centers to form the Task Force and implement the battle plan to accomplish its goal.

NCCHE said the completion of this process will happen at the end of April with a large exposition and symposium to start the full program.

For more information, please contact Minister John Williams at (347) 962-0451 or jhnw361@gmail.com.

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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