With diabetes rampant among Senecas and other American Indians, the Seneca Nation of Indians announced Thursday that it is giving $1.5 million for an endowment at Women and Children's Hospital.
Interest earned from the fund will be used for diabetes research; recruitment of a pediatric endocrinologist, a specialist who treats diabetes; and care for Seneca Nation members with diabetes.
Diabetes is considered the single greatest health problem among Senecas. In the United States, an estimated 12.8 percent of American Indians have diagnosed diabetes, compared with 7 percent of the general population, according to the American Diabetes Association.
The Seneca Nation says diabetes in some way affects 50 percent of its members.
"We're excited about a chance to increase outreach in diabetes prevention and treatment," said Barry E. Snyder Sr., former president of the Seneca Nation of Indians and chairman of Seneca Diabetes Foundation.
Proposed uses for the endowment include improved access to diabetes prevention and treatment programs for Seneca Nation members, more physicians and nurses dedicated to work weekly with the Seneca Nation Health Department, formation of mentor-internship programs with Kaleida Health for Seneca Nation members, and development of pediatric research programs in endocrinology.
Women and Children's is part of the Kaleida Health hospital system.
Plans call for raising money for the endowment at the Seneca Diabetes Foundation Chairman's Ball, to be held Feb. 9-10 in the Seneca Niagara Casino's Seneca Events Center in Niagara Falls.