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Diabetes Screenings at UMass Memorial Health Clinic for People Experiencing Homelessness

Date Posted: Friday, July 02, 2021
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Left to Right: Clinical Nutritionist & Diabetes Educator Victoria Andersen,
Dr. Leslie Domalik and UMass DCOE Administrator Lisa Hubacz

The second UMass Diabetic Foot Screening clinic for Worcester’s homeless population was held on Saturday, June 26 at the Saint Francis Xavier Center in the city’s canal district. Three endocrinologists a certified diabetes care & education specialist (CDCES) and registered dietitian from the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence joined health care professionals from vascular surgery, wound care and podiatry. They volunteered their time to examine people, distributed information and scheduled follow-up appointments as necessary.  

The first of these clinics was held on World Diabetes Day in November of 2020. Their success will certainly lead to additional upcoming events. One of the organizers, Tammy Nguyen, MD, PhD, combined her interests in vascular surgery, diabetic wound healing and homeless medicine to provide necessary health resources to this underserved population.   

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Physician-scientist Dr. Tammy Nguyen (center) clinic co-organizer

Our goal is to bring accessible healthcare to the homeless with regular outreach clinics to prevent diabetic foot ulcers and other complications from diabetes,” said Dr. Nguyen, who was recently awarded a research grant to study why people with diabetes experience problems with wound healing.

Diabetes supplies were offered to those in need, as were shoes and socks. Covid-19 vaccinations were available for anyone who attended. 

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“I met with dozens of people who have diabetes and many of them told me about family and friends who struggle with it,” said Victoria Andersen, a clinical nutritionist & diabetes educator at the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence. “They were interested in knowing what their blood sugars were and learning how to manage them. It's rewarding to empower people with diet and lifestyle education so they can live their best lives.”

Dr. Nguyen and co-organizers, nurse practitioners Mallory Gibbons and Jessin Varghese, are grateful to their colleagues from various departments who donated their time as well as community donations provided to the participants. 

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World Diabetes Day: November 14, 2020

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Diabetes Information & Resources