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Diabetes program up and running


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A long-standing program that was temporarily stopped at Fort Belknap Indian Reservation due to a lack of funds is back on track. The Fort Belknap diabetes prevention program was awarded funding this year and began operations again this month, after a nearly five-month hiatus when it ended in October. Carol Strasheim of the Indian Health Service office in Billings said a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Indian Health Service was awarded in January, which will be paid to Fort Belknap on a cost-reimbursement basis. The grant is through Special Diabetes Programs for Indians funding. The Tribe will submit its costs in the program to a grant coordinator in Rockville, Md., for approval. Questions about the new program were referred by its director to the Fort Belknap chief administrative officer, Loren "Bum" Stiffarm. Stiffarm and Tracy King, president of the Tribal council, did not respond to requests for comment. The program was cancelled when the federal funding paying for the services ran out last fall several months before the new grant funding was available. Last October, representatives of the diabetes program and Indian Health Services said that, in past years when the funding cycles had not matched, the Tribe stepped in and funded operations until the new funding was availAble. The diabetes program then reimbursed the Fort Belknap government. The Fort Belknap diabetes program provided services such as screening and providing education and other services including outreach, clinics, and visits to homes, like taking medication to diabetics. Strausheim said the initial focus in the revived program will be on school health with promotion of healthy habits and preventing diabetes, and physical activities for diabetes prevention and care.


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