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Montefiore in the News

November 20, 2006

New York City, NY (November 20, 2006) – Montefiore Medical Center has been designated a Diabetes Center of Excellence by the State of New York and awarded a prestigious five-year, $500,000 grant to develop and implement an innovative program to help women who are pregnant and have diabetes, a condition that can harm the mother and put the fetus at risk.   Under the program, care givers from Montefiore will make home visits to encourage more healthy lifestyles for mothers with diabetes and their families. 

“This new program will address a critical need in the Bronx, where approximately 7 percent of the women who deliver babies have either Type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes, a rate that is 40 percent higher than New York City as a whole,” said Joel Zonszein, MD, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore, and co-investigator of the study grant.  “Without incorporating healthy diets and exercise into their lifestyles, these mothers are likely to give birth to overweight babies and their children are likely to develop diabetes.”

Montefiore is one of only five institutions in New York state to receive funding and designation as a Diabetes Center of Excellence under The New York State Department of Health’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Program.

“Selection by the State of New York as a Diabetes Center of Excellence is recognition of Montefiore’s leadership in this specialty and our continuing effort to treat the epidemic of diabetes in thoughtful, effective ways,” said Gary E. Kalkut, MD, vice president and medical director at Montefiore.   “Montefiore currently treats more than 30,000 patients with diabetes through a number of existing programs and this grant will allow us to expand our program for pregnant women with diabetes, a program we started 25 years ago.” 

“We will first work with the pregnant women with diabetes already cared for at Montefiore and then expand to Bronx Lebanon Hospital.  In addition, we will continue to cooperate with the visiting nurse service,” said Ellen Landsberger, MD, director of Montefiore’s Diabetes in Pregnancy program and co-investigator of the study grant.

“Our goal is to augment the specialty care available to these women, before and after birth and to encourage things such as breast feeding, which can decrease the risk of diabetes.   However, we also know that families can influence patients and their eating and exercise habits.  So a large part of our program will entail home visits to encourage healthier “family lifestyles.”   A family support system, coupled with the high motivation of the mothers to protect their babies, is the key to prevention,” she said.

Pregnant mothers to be enrolled in the program have either Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes in the nation, or gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), a special form of the disease which develops late in pregnancy, and which is commonly thought to be temporary.   However, studies have shown that 50 percent or more of women with gestational diabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes within five years, and that babies born to women with GDM are at high risk for obesity and diabetes.

The new home visit program will be integrated into Montefiore’s Diabetes in Pregnancy Program, and will complement an array of other specialty programs, including: The Montefiore Clinical Diabetes Center, which has two physician specialists, five registered nurses and two registered dieticians; ongoing diabetes education and consultation services in the Moses and Weiler divisions of the medical center; a maternal and infant homecare program which is part of the Montefiore Home Health Agency; Montefiore’s nationally recognized school health program serving 30,00 students; a federally funded diabetes outreach program operating in four of Montefiore’s primary care centers; and a diabetes case management program with 1,000 patients operated through a management group, or CMO, affiliated with Montefiore.

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