Mee Memorial Healthcare System staff prepare an information booth for their drive-thru diabetes information clinic Nov. 12 in observance of World Diabetes Day, which was Nov. 14. (Sean Roney/Staff)

KING CITY — Mee Memorial Healthcare System observed Diabetes Awareness Month and World Diabetes Day with a Nov. 12 drive-thru educational event.

Attendees were able to pull through the hospital parking lot in King City and pick up diabetes information, which included a risk-assessment questionnaire.

Heidi Pattison, Mee Memorial’s director of outpatient clinics, said an estimated 45% of residents in Monterey County are prediabetic.

“We have some providers in the clinic where up to 80% of their patients are diabetic or prediabetic,” Pattison said. “It’s crucial to get the word out about warning signs, eating properly and behaviors they can change.”

The drive-thru format was a first for the event, which staff said would typically be run with more of a health fair format, if not for health concerns due to Covid-19. Staff were able to not only provide materials to attendees, but also explain the information contained within for those with questions.

“People who have diabetes are at higher risk of severe coronavirus infection,” said Dr. Joshua Deutsch, a family practice provider with Mee Memorial.

Deutsch added that South Monterey County has a higher percentage of people with diabetes and a higher percentage of obesity than the overall county.

“Access to care is poorer here, so people with diabetes are more likely to have uncontrolled diabetes or to have some of the complications of diabetes neglected, so it becomes a more severe disease burden,” he said.

The diabetes event came as part of Mee Memorial’s interest in being more active in the community, part of a goal of the new administration, Deutsch said.

“To be more active and address more of the community’s needs,” he said. “It is challenging with coronavirus to have an active community presence and to go out and meet people.”

In order to address more of the community and their health issues, Deutsch said it takes meeting people halfway and in public. That allows reaching people who might be afraid or haven’t thought of meeting with a physician in a clinic.

The overall campaign is designed to get the public’s attention, to motivate people to action and to encourage community members to get further education or see their physician.

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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