Da Suga© Foundation is an award winning 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to change the face of diabetes through collaboration, communication, and education. The company was formed in 2014 when a patient was admitted to a hospital I was working at with an infected foot. He was brought in by his wife who noticed a stench coming from the infected limb. They wrapped his foot in a washcloth and plastic bag. When I questioned him about whether or not he had diabetes, his reply was, “I don’t know nuthin about no diabetes, but I know I got Da Suga.” It was at this point I realized that is how he understood the illness that would rob him of his foot.
After extensive research, it was apparent this disease is a major problem, not only in the African American community but in most brown cultures. It is quickly becoming an albatross around the necks of the healthcare system and employers who have diabetic patients as employees. Currently, the strain amounts to roughly $245 million dollars, $176 million in medical care and doctor visits and $69 million in lost wages. The cost to the diabetic individual is also a strain. Most diabetic patients have health care cost that is almost 3 times higher than non-diabetic patients. There are roughly 29 million people that have been diagnosed with this disease. 8 million of those have no idea they are diabetic and will find out by happenstance. The number that is most frightening is the 86 million people who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control has deemed this disease an epidemic and at the current growth rate, they predict that by 2025 40% of the US population will be affected.
Although I am not a diabetic, I am a Registered Nurse who witnesses the devastation and miseducation of not only laypersons but health care workers as well on a daily basis. So in response to this spiraling epidemic, we have developed educational programming that will assist individuals affected by diabetes and their families on managing this disease that is considered self-managing. Our programming includes Healthy Cooking Demonstrations, Gentleman’s Foot Clinic, Da Suga Show, Da Suga Podcast, A Day with Da Suga Nurse, and our HOTT Health Series. We also have a product line to include Da Suga Tee shirts, diabetic starter baskets, the book “I Got Da Suga…Da Suga Ain’t Got Me”, and diabetic survival kits. All of our events are educational and interactive to maximize the benefit of the educational experience. We have completed over 200 evaluations from participants of our events and have received an excellent rating 98% of the time.