Detroit vs. Diabetes: Tech Key To New Campaign

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DETROIT — Southeast Michigan Beacon Community is launching a groundbreaking new public health campaign, “Fighting D in the D,” to combat the epidemic of type 2 diabetes in the Metro Detroit area. The campaign introduces txt4health, a personalized 14-week text-based health intervention, which enables people to take a free risk assessment on their mobile device.

This campaign is part of the Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement Program, an Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, grant program for communities to help build and strengthen health information technology infrastructure that support clinical quality improvement and population health goals.

Vivian Fonseca, M.D., president for medicine and science at the American Diabetes Association said, “The txt4health campaign reflects a collaborative effort that uses mobile health technology to connect people who are at risk to much-needed resources which will allow them to manage and improve their health.”

Individuals enroll in the program by simply texting the word “HEALTH” to 300400 using their cell phones. To set up their personal profile, participants are asked a series of brief questions that assess their risk for type 2 diabetes. Based on their text response, they will receive targeted, personalized messages over a 14-week period with helpful tips on how to lead a healthier life.

Together with its marketing partner, Dearborn-based Team Detroit Inc., SEMBC is deploying a major media-awareness campaign with a micro-targeted component that includes unique, engaging grassroots marketing in high-risk areas of the city. In her advocacy for effective disease prevention and health promotion programs, Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., U.S. Surgeon General , will be speaking at the “Fighting D in the D” kickoff event Wednesday, Feb. 22.

The program is launching in three Beacon Communities: Crescent City (New Orleans), Southeast Michigan and Greater Cincinnati.

“Beacon Communities are recognized as the brightest examples of using technology to transform health care at the local level,” said Farzad Mostashari, M.D., National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. “The txt4health campaign in New Orleans, Detroit and Cincinnati will test a new form of public health engagement, spearheaded by text messaging that is widely available, inexpensive, and allows for immediate delivery of essential consumer health information.”

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