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NEW DIABETES CENTER OPENS AT BETH ISRAEL

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by Judy Antell

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In response to the increasing incidence of diabetes among New Yorkers, Beth Israel Medical Center has opened a state-of-the-art facility, the Gerald J. Friedman Diabetes Institute.  Services at the brand new facility include nutritional counseling, a pediatric program, and community outreach to all five boroughs to aim at stemming the increase in the diabetes rate.

The Institute has already enrolled over 500 patients. According to a recent report from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, there are an estimated 500,000 adults with diabetes in New York City, or nine percent of the population — one of the highest concentrated rates in the world.

Leonid Poretsky, M.D., director of Beth Israel’s diabetes management program and chief of the division of endocrinology and metabolism, describes a proactive approach to diabetes care.  “The idea is not for patients to come here to see physicians, though we will have four doctors on hand for emergencies,” he says. “Instead, the Institute is here to supplement and support patients who remain with their own primary care physicians.”

The Friedman Institute has a “one-stop shopping” approach for diabetes care and education, designed to meet three important goals for combating the disorder:

—Controlling blood sugar, cholesterol, weight and blood pressure

—Avoiding serious diabetes complications

—Conducting basic and clinical research

There is a kitchen where a nutritionist can work with patients to choose a healthy diet, and an exercise room where fitness experts can help patients develop an exercise regimen.  The large, cheerful setting also includes a community room for workshops and support groups.  Some of these services are offered on a sliding scale fee schedule.

The Friedman Institute also offers a high risk OB/GYN program to provide support to pregnant women with gestational, type 1 or type 2 diabetes.  The physicians work closely with Beth Israel’s department of obstetrics and gynecology, in a multi-disciplinary approach to help pregnant women improve blood sugar control and promote a healthy pregnancy.

The staff is developing a diabetes education curriculum for the deaf, with a Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) program designed by diabetes educators and sign language interpreters.

Still to come, an educational website will extend the Institute’s geographic boundaries.  The site will include an interactive section where patients can consult with the Institute’s staff.

The Gerald J. Friedman Diabetes Institute is at 317 East 17th Street, 8th floor.  For more information, www.friedmandiabetesinstitute.com or (212) 420-3453.

 


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