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June 24, 2009 > Diabetes Prevention Hits the Road This Summer

Diabetes Prevention Hits the Road This Summer

Washington on Wheels Mobile Health Clinic Makes Receiving Preventive Care Easy

Over the next three months this summer, Washington Hospital Healthcare System's mobile health clinic, Washington On Wheels, will make it easy for local residents to get screened for diabetes - for free.

Washington On Wheels, or W.O.W., travels throughout the Tri-City area on a regular basis providing quality health care services to uninsured and underserved segments of the population and began providing free diabetes screenings in 2005.

"One of the most important goals of W.O.W. is to improve the overall health of people in our region by increasing and expanding the reach of preventive health services, such as screenings," explains Ruth Traylor, Washington Hospital's Community Outreach Director. "We want to screen as many people as possible because there's an estimated 100,000 people in Alameda County that have diabetes and about one-third of them don't know they have it."

Not Knowing Can Hurt

Undiagnosed, diabetes can be especially dangerous because the afflicted person isn't taking steps to manage the condition. This can lead to serious physical consequences affecting many parts of the body, including the eyes, kidneys, heart and limbs. People with diabetes face a dramatically higher risk of heart disease, stroke, nerve disease and dental disease.

"The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that we screen people that are overweight and may have other health conditions that may put them at risk," says Sherrie Kneebone, N.P., and the W.O.W. van's nurse practitioner. "After someone is found to have diabetes, the need for education is critical and this is something the W.O.W. staff provides."

Washington Hospital Outpatient Diabetes Program

If you have diabetes, Washington Hospital's Outpatient Diabetes Education Program can make a difference in your life. The diabetes program features a team of nurses and dietitians who are certified diabetes educators and are experts in helping each individual learn what will work to control diabetes. By focusing on the individual needs of each patient, the program has successfully guided people to better health. For more information about the program's services, visit or call (510) 745-6556.

According to a study performed by the Alameda County Public Health Department for Washington Hospital and other hospitals of the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California, Union City had the highest rate of hospitalizations for diabetes-related illnesses in Alameda County and the city of Newark was number three on the list.

Diabetes Screening Takes Just a Few Minutes

The free diabetes (blood glucose) screening tests are taken using a finger-pricking device that is used to get a drop of blood. The screening takes just a few seconds and the W.O.W. staff explains each person's results within a few minutes. To achieve more accurate results, the W.O.W. staff recommends that participants don't eat or drink anything for 12 hours before testing; however, this is not mandatory.

"If we test someone that is found to have diabetes, W.O.W. can provide the counseling and referrals for additional care," adds Traylor. "If a patient doesn't have a primary care physician, W.O.W. staff can work with them to set up care."

Free diabetes screenings will be conducted at W.O.W.'s regularly scheduled stops:
* Fremont Senior Center (40086 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont)
July 6, August 7 and September 7 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

* Family Resource Center (39155 Liberty Street, Fremont)
July 13, August 10 and September 14 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

* Newark Community Center (35501 Cedar Boulevard, Newark)
July 9, August 13 and September 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

* Ruggieri Senior Center (33997 Alvarado-Niles Road, Union City)
July 27, August 24 and September 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Washington On Wheels Mobile Health Clinic provides a host of other services, including:
* Physical exams
* Health screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels for diabetes
* Immunizations and Flu Shots
* Nutritional counseling and health education
* Occupational medicine*

The Washington On Wheels Mobile Health Clinic accepts Medicare and Medi-Cal and some insurance plans and will provide services regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.

Find out more about Washington On Wheels

To learn more about the services offered by the Washington On Wheels Mobile Health Clinic, call (510) 608-3203 or visit, click on "For Our Community," and select "W.O.W. Mobile Health Clinic." If your company is interested in utilizing the Washington On Wheels Mobile Health Clinic for occupational medicine services for your employees, please call (510) 608-1320.

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