Project HEED (Help Educate to Eliminate Diabetes) was created in 2008 by the East Harlem Partnership for Diabetes Prevention (EHPDP) as a response to the high rates of diabetes in East Harlem. The partnership, a coalition of community-based organizations, residents, and researchers, had been formed three years earlier, in 2005, with the mission to improve the health of East Harlem. The partnership spent much time looking at the health issues plaguing their community and chose diabetes prevention as its number 1 priority after witnessing how deeply the disease was affecting their neighborhood. Their resolve was strengthened after a New York Times article publicizing the disproportionally high rates of diabetes in East Harlem.
Project HEED is a lifestyle intervention program that began as a series of workshops on healthy living. In 2010, we partnered with 54 community sites to run 32 workshops throughout East Harlem. We found that Project HEED help participants to:
1. Lose weight
2. Maintain stable blood sugar levels
3. Share healthy eating and exercise habits with family and friends
Since the workshops ended in 2012, we have been working closely with our community partners to improve our program and develop tools to make it easier to empower East Harlem residents to take control of their health.