During the 1980s Puerto Rico started to develop a great concern in the light of studies revealing an excessive amount of diabetes patients in the Island. It was estimated that over 500,000 individuals suffered the condition, and there were not enough methods, alternatives, nor local promotional tools as to educate the community and, in so doing, prevent and control diabetes.
This situation inspired their fellow countryman Andrés “Bubo” Gómez (RIP), who had the vision, determination, and generosity to create the Puerto Rican Diabetes Association (PDA) with the support of a group of equally committed professionals who shared his vision and concern: Doctors Jorge de Jesús, endocrinologist, and Miladi Lugo, pediatric endocrinologist; Attorney at Law Giovanni Cáceres; Elliut V. Zapata; Agnes Medina; Mary Burgos, bank official; Leticia Colón de Irizarry (RIP), licensed dietitian nutritionist; Roberto Dávila (RIP), accountant; and Sixto Toro (RIP), public relations professional and journalist. The PDA was registered in the Department of State of Puerto Rico on December 15th, 1987.
The mission of the Puerto Rican Diabetes Association is to promote diabetes prevention, diagnosis, and control, as well as educate, and offer guidance to patients, their families, and the community at large. In order to accomplish this mission, the PDA focuses its efforts in the following:
Develop educational programs and events that promote, amongst diabetes patients and the general public, greater knowledge of diabetes and the treatments required to control it. Promote an exchange of information about Diabetes Mellitus amongst health professionals in order to improve the quality of the services provided to diabetes patients. Promote, support and publish scientific research about Diabetes Mellitus. Establish service programs aimed to improve the quality of the physical and mental health of diabetes patients, their families and communities.
The Puerto Rican Diabetes Association has developed a variety of educational programs and fundraising events that evolve throughout the years in order to fulfill the necessities of the community.
Some of the current educational programs are: “Health Train: Bringing Health to Every Destination”, which tours schools with the purpose of educating students, their parents, tutors, and teachers about diabetes prevention and good nutrition; “Train of Trainers (TOT): Teaching Teachers”, which trains school personnel on how to integrate and run a prevention program and coaches them on how to deal with emergencies with hypoglycemic and diabetic students; “Only for Adults Summer Camp: Step by Step, Control your Diabetes”, where participants partake in educational seminars about diabetes, medications, complications, prevention, monitoring, exercise and nutrition; “Expo Diabetes San Juan” and “Expo Diabetes Oeste”, which are family-oriented health conventions that educate the community at general free of cost through an extensive variety of exhibitors, health clinics, live demonstrations, and on stage presentations.
Also, on November, they join the IDF efforts by requesting the local proclamation of November as the National Diabetes Month, we light up different monuments or buildings on the World Diabetes Day and they launch the international campaign assigned by the IDF. To cap the year, at the end of November they celebrate their main event: “Encaminada: Encendiendo la Luz por la Diabetes”, which is a family-oriented celebration of health for the whole community, ending with the “Give me 5K for Diabetes”, a race intended to create awareness about diabetes.
Publications & Newsletters
Throughout the year, they spread their message of prevention and control in the traditional media through a variety of articles in newspapers and magazines, and with press releases that accompany their advertising campaigns and provide more details about the events. They also create the in house quarterly newsletter “Notidiabetes” with articles of interest for the members of the Association. Their radio program “La Salud y La Diabetes” (“Health and Diabetes”) is transmitted on a weekly basis throughout the island. Their website, www.diabetespr.org , is their virtual link to allow everyone access to information about diabetes.
Message from the President
Mr Jose Luis Alvarez "As an affiliated member of the IDF we get the latest information and trends about diabetes in the world, enhancing our mission of educating about diabetes prevention and control."