Diabetes afflicts nearly 10% of Americans, but in Norwegian’s neighborhood, it is a full-blown epidemic. Nearly half of area adults aged 45-64 are at high risk for diabetes.


In 2016 Norwegian American Hospital and our foundation are embarking on a major campaign to address the scourge of diabetes in our service area. Diabetes afflicts nearly 10% of Americans, but in Norwegian’s neighborhood, it is a full-blown epidemic. Nearly half of area adults aged 45-64 are at high risk for diabetes. Diabetes affects certain racial, ethnic and low-income populations more than other groups; Puerto Ricans in Humboldt Park are three times more likely to die from the disease than the U.S. average.

The A1c, a common blood test used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes and then to gauge how well a patient is managing his or her diabetes, is not performed regularly on diabetes patients as the lab cost varies from $200-$300, and patients without health insurance cannot afford to pay this cost. Therefore, lack of health insurance becomes a major factor in diabetes monitoring and impacts who receives medical care.

"Food Deserts"
Many area communities are considered food deserts. There is limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables and many ethnic diets consume excess sweets, salt, fat, and other ingredients that contribute to obesity, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and diabetes, among other conditions. Families rely heavily on fast food, establishments that have saturated our service areas.


We seek to raise $1 million for Prevent Diabetes Now!, a community health improvement project.

We want to stitch together what is now a patchwork of services into a coordinated network of diabetes care in our hospital and among affiliated healthcare providers.

Norwegian will improve its diabetes care services, including endocrinology, ophthalmology, wound care, limb preservation services and podiatry. We will further develop a registry of diabetic patients and community members, thus enabling better care coordination among specialized care programs, primary care and case management. Where community-based services are lacking, Norwegian may look to establish a clinic or partner with an outside clinic that can support patients with diabetes.

All the services in the world, however, won’t solve this problem if people lack awareness of diabetes and their risk. We will relocate and improve an information center at the hospital where patients can learn more about the disease and how to get proper care. We will work closely with grassroots groups on community outreach, education and events that focus on awareness, diet, physical activity, and other aspects of diabetes prevention and self-care.

The campaign will feature marketing through general and Spanish language media and special events such as health fairs.

For more information on diabetes consult these resources:

You can see the impact of this disease at our hospital everyday

  • Two of every five admitted patients have diabetes
  • In 2015 more than 13,000 patient visits to the hospital, including 7,284 Wound Center visits, were related to diabetes
  • One-third of newly diagnosed patients did not know they had diabetes until complications, such as blindness, foot or leg infections, kidney failure and/or heart disease had developed
  • Dozens of patients lost limbs to diabetes

Diabetes Mortality for Selected Chicago Communities, 2009

Norwegian American Hospital Neighborhood: Diabetes Mortality Rate per 100,000 persons

East Garfield Park
West Garfield Park
West Town
North Lawndale
Humboldt Park
Logan Square
Albany Park
Irving Park
Belmont Cragin
City of Chicago