Houston team member comes to Leicester

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A team member from the Houston Changing Diabetes team recently visited Leicester to learn more about the work being done with faith groups.

 During her two-day stay Thomasina Burns, from the Institute of Spirituality and Health, was able to see a series of activities and initiatives take place, which have all been developed by the Leicester Diabetes Centre.

 Thomasina’s first stop was to observe the education programme A Safer Ramadan, designed to provide self-management and care for people living with diabetes to safely observe the holy month of Ramadan when fasting occurs during daylight hours. 

She also met with Safer Ramadan community champions, attended a coffee morning promoting the course to women in Leicester’s communities and saw some physical activity classes, including a seated exercise class led by Leicester’s Healthy Goals champions. 

There was also time to meet with Leicester team members to discuss the programmes led by Leicester and Houston, during which they also planned how the two cities can continue to learn from one another and share resources within the wider CCD network.

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Dr Deirdre Harrington, Lecturer in Physical Activity Sedentary Behaviour and Health at the University of Leicester, said: “We are very keen to continue our relationship with Houston as it’s the fourth largest city in the United States and obesity is the most common chronic condition there, affecting 32 per cent of adults.

“CCD has been working with stakeholders in Houston since 2014 and together they discovered that faith was a great way to promote awareness of diabetes, which is also a key area of focus for the Leicester team. 

“Together they launched a Faith and Diabetes initiative which has been very effective in engaging with leaders in faith communities around diabetes awareness, prevention, and treatment.”

The visit comes just a few months after the Leicester team travelled to Houston to find out more about the initiatives they have introduced in a bid to target people of faith who are at risk of developing diabetes.

Carol Akroyd, from the Centre for BME Health, who visited Houston in September 2018, said: “Faith plays a huge role in people’s lives in both Houston and Leicester, both cities are multicultural with transient populations. 

“We learnt how Houston have provided a training programme for lay educators in communities of faith that empowers the lay leaders to then in turn empower their congregations through sharing of knowledge. 

“There is opportunity for both our cities to learn from each other, share knowledge, understanding and lessons learnt to make improvements to diabetes awareness, prevention and  self management and these visits have enabled that to happen.”

Fiona Bailey