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ARTICLE New Diabetes Center Opens in New York City's Chinatown to Serve Asian Americans

NEW YORK (March 16, 2011) – A first-of-its-kind clinic that provides comprehensive in-language and culturally relevant health care and education services for Asian Americans to prevent or better manage diabetes opened today in New York City's Chinatown area.

The Asian Diabetes Center is designed to improve the quality of diabetic care for the Asian-American community and reduce overall health care costs. The center includes a staff endocrinologist and nutritionist to help develop customized care programs to address patients' diabetic care issues. The clinic also will provide specialty care services in podiatry, ophthalmology, optometry and nephrology.

"Asian Americans are not immune to our nation's diabetes epidemic. In fact, the number of Asian Americans suffering from this terrible disease is increasing at an alarming rate," said George Liu, M.D., founder of the Asian Diabetes Center. "Through early detection, diagnosis and treatment will we be able to help Asian Americans control their diabetes – and hopefully in many cases, ensure they never become diabetic. We are opening the Asian Diabetes Center right in the heart of Chinatown to make access to much needed diabetic care and education easier."

"We applaud Dr. Liu for his vision to help prevent and better manage diabetes among Asian Americans in our community," said Christopher Law, national vice president of Asian Initiatives for UnitedHealthcare. "We share Dr. Liu's commitment to addressing health care issues that affect Asian Americans. UnitedHealthcare has developed new programs and services for consumers to help stem the rising tide of diabetes."

Diabetes is a national health epidemic. In 2010, nearly 26 million people nationwide had diabetes, with 27 percent of them undiagnosed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If current trends continue, one in three people born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetimes, according to the CDC.

Diabetes is now the fifth-leading cause of death among Asian American and Pacific Islander populations in the United States, says the CDC. In New York State, nearly 129,000 Asian Americans, or 9.5 percent, are estimated to suffer from diabetes, according to the Institute for Alternative Futures.

"The opening of the Asian Diabetes Center will help meet the needs of underserved populations in our community," said Margaret Chin, New York City council member. "Diabetes is a serious health problem that requires long-term medical advice and care to manage it successfully. Unfortunately, it is also a disease that is widespread in the Asian-American community. A comprehensive specialized care center located in the Chinatown community will go a long way toward improving the health of our community and spreading awareness about this disease."