Hosted at South Texas College, the panel served as the lead up to Saturday’s inaugural Prevent, Treat & Beat Diabetes Symposium
Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. and affects more than 10% of the population, according to the CDC. Cases continue trending upward, with obesity, lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating patterns among the greatest risk factors.
Large scale, immediate action is required to combat the epidemic of diabetes across the nation, especially in the Rio Grande Valley — where socioeconomic and race demographics place the population at greater risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. South Texas Health System and Prominence Health Plan are joining forces to rally the community to prevent, treat and beat diabetes in the four-county region.
On Wednesday, March 23, STHS held a diabetes panel discussion in collaboration with Prominence Health Plan and South Texas College as the lead-up event to the inaugural Prevent, Beat & Treat Diabetes Symposium. Moderated by South Texas Health System’s Tom Castaneda, the panel featured local healthcare experts and community leaders, as they discussed what needs to be done as a community to help improve the health and wellness of the people of the Valley by reducing the incidence of diabetes incidence in the region.
Panelists included STHS Clinics’ Dr. Sujan Gogu, a triple board-certified physician in family medicine, sports medicine and pain medicine; Hidalgo County Pct. 2 Commissioner Eduardo “Eddie” Cantu; PSJA I.S.D. Health Services Director Sulema Solis, who is a licensed family nurse practitioner; Collective Impact Director of Unidos Contra la Diabetes Moises Arjona; and licensed dietician-nutritionist Ana D’Escrivan, who runs Complete Nutrition Solutions.
“COVID really exacerbated diabetes by preventing people from visiting their primary care doctor or losing their insurance from unemployment,” Dr. Sujan Gogu said. “When you lose that, your thought process isn’t ‘I need to see a doctor,’ your thought process is completely different.
“As a physician, education is at the forefront of what I do and in treating patients, I make sure to get an understanding of their education level for these chronic illnesses our community faces. Moving forward we need to find ways to prioritize education and prevention above all to reverse these rapidly increasing rates of diagnosis.”
Topics of the discussion centered around the five “C” pillars of health equity: cure, care, cost, cuisine and connect. The conversation will continue on Saturday, March 26 during the full-day symposium open to the entire community featuring educational sessions specially tailored for seniors, adults, children and caregivers led by physicians, dieticians, counselors and exercise therapists. For more details on the Diabetes Symposium, including the schedule of presentations, visit www.STHSEducation.com.
About South Texas Health System
South Texas Health System is a multi-hospital health care system serving patients throughout the Rio Grande Valley. The system includes four hospital campuses with specialties in pediatrics, heart and vascular services, maternity and women’s health and trauma services. Treatment for behavioral health needs and addictive disorders is also provided through the system’s South Texas Health System Behavioral Health campus location. South Texas Health System is affiliated with the South Texas Clinical Partners ACO, Prominence Health Plan, and Cornerstone Regional Hospital. The system operates an advanced Level II Trauma Center at South Texas Health System McAllen, the first and only pediatric ER at South Texas Health System Children’s, a specialized cardiac ER at South Texas Health System Heart, and six freestanding emergency rooms located in and around Weslaco, Mission, Edinburg, McAllen and Alamo. For more information on the system, please visit www.southtexashealthsystem.com.\
Physicians are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of South Texas Health System. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians.