Florida Department of Health lights Florida Historic Capital Blue


– World Diabetes Day recognizes those who look diabetes in the face every day –

TALLAHASSEE – To spotlight World Diabetes Day during American Diabetes Month, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and partners will come together in front of the Florida Historic Capitol Museum for a press conference with featured speakers who will highlight the importance of diabetes education, prevention and awareness on Monday, November 14, 2011 in Tallahassee, Florida. At dusk on World Diabetes Day, the Florida Historic Capitol Museum will light up in blue, joining the Empire State Building, Sydney’s Opera House, Niagara Falls, the Pyramids and over a thousand other iconic landmarks across the world in honoring the battle against diabetes.

 “By lighting our the Florida Historic Capitol blue, the color of the universal symbol for diabetes, we are illustrating our state’s role in increasing awareness and prevention for those Floridians at risk for developing diabetes while simultaneously demonstrating a commitment to those currently diagnosed by encouraging optimal self-management and lifestyle changes,” stated State Surgeon General Dr. Frank Farmer. “On this day, the blue illuminations from one of Florida’s most significant historic landmarks will represent a beacon of hope for anyone who currently struggles with diabetes, knows a loved one who lives with diabetes or has lost someone to diabetes.

Diabetes affects over 300 million people worldwide. Florida’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System revealed that the prevalence of diabetes among adult Floridians increased 81.4 percent in the past decade. More than 3 million Florida adults have hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels), including an estimated 1.5 million Floridians with diagnosed diabetes and approximately 500,000 more adults with undiagnosed diabetes and an additional 950,650 adults with pre-diabetes, which is more than the total populations in Alaska, District of Columbia, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming combined. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed, but Type 1 cannot. It is estimated that Florida has more than 76,782 persons living with type 1 diabetes, which requires constant attention to manage.

A press conference will begin promptly at 2:00 p.m. on Monday November 14, 2011 on the steps of the old state capitol building, with key speakers including the following:

• State Surgeon General Dr. Frank Farmer. Dr. Farmer oversees Florida’s public health agency, including 67 county health departments statewide, to protect and promote the health of residents and visitors in the state of Florida. Dr. Farmer was previously President for the Florida Medical Association, a former Board of Medicine Chairman, and a private physician. His expertise extends beyond the health arena with leadership experience rooted in his dedicated military service and role as a history professor at the collegiate level.  

• Kathy Mulcahy, Florida Alliance for Diabetes Prevention. Ms. Mulcahy is the Chair of the Florida Alliance for Diabetes Prevention and Care and has been a certified diabetes educator since 1987. The Alliance is a statewide, grassroots partnership promoting diabetes prevention, education, and care issues. The Alliance’s executive committee has a leadership role in accomplishing objectives that complement the goals of the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program (DPCP) and the Diabetes Advisory Council. Ms. Mulcahy also holds a leadership position with the American Association of Diabetes Educators coordinating body for Florida. 

• Chet Evans, Diabetes Advisory Council. Dr. Evans is the chair of the Florida Diabetes Advisory Council, a governor-appointed group that advises the Governor and the Department of Health Secretary on emerging diabetes issues effecting care, treatment, and quality of life. The guidance of and recommendations made by the Council improves policy and legislation efforts, as well as influences the strategic planning of the Diabetes Control Program. Dr. Evans is the Vice President for Medical Education and Program Development and Professor of Surgery at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine branch campus in Bradenton, Florida. Dr. Evans divides his time as a clinician and an educator to ensure new podiatrists understand diabetes and its implications.

• Ms. Haley May, local teen diabetes advocate. Ms. May was diagnosed with diabetes at age 11 and has helped spread awareness on diabetes and involvement by engaging in numerous media interviews, speeches and commercials. Upon diagnosis, Ms. May started a car wash hoping to raise a few hundred dollars and instead raised $5,000. In the four years she has hosted the carwash, she has raised a total of $30,000 for the American Diabetes Association. In 2011, Ms. May was named Youth Volunteer of the Year for her hometown. Ms. May’s goal is to become the National Youth Advocate to help other kids realize that diabetes can’t stop them from doing anything.

Media set-up time and location for the press conference:

1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Florida Historic Capitol Museum
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399 

World Diabetes Day is celebrated worldwide by the over 200 member associations of the International Diabetes Federation in more than 160 countries and territories, all Member States of the United Nations, as well as by other associations and organizations, companies, healthcare professionals and people living with diabetes and their families. World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat that diabetes now poses. The World Diabetes Day 2011 campaign marks the third year of the International Diabetes Federation’s five-year focus on “Diabetes education and prevention,” the theme chosen for the period 2009-2013.

For more information on diabetes, visit DOH’s website at http://www.floridadiabetes.com/.