Advocacy Spotlight: DOColors

Advocacy Spotlight, DOColors

Last week, on TuDiabetes Talks, Diabetes Hands Foundation had a conversation with two #diabetesadvocates about race, diversity, and their intersection with diabetes. Through her family’s experience as minorities with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, Alexis Newell became passionate about their intersection with human rights, and helped to build DOColors.

I’ve been involved in diabetes advocacy… I work to make sure every person with diabetes has access to the education, care, and tools they need. And I count on our all-inclusive diabetes community to do the same. Part of being a diabetes advocate means advocating for all people with diabetes, and for some people within our community we need to advocate harder.Alexis Newell

About the Project

DOColors creates a space within the diabetes community that embraces diversity, and advocates for all, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, or political affiliation. It is a space to share fears, celebrations, and resources for the community. Thanks to four diabetes advocates in our community, Alexis Newell, Christopher Snider, Desirée Johnson, and Mike Lawson, the project launched in October and has a growing wall of images that proudly display the diversity of the community.

A photo posted by DOColors (@docolors) on

The Project in the Broader Context

At Diabetes Advocates, we advocate for a system that promotes greater health equity and lessens disparities, and in which access is not denied or hindered. Many public health studies have shown how race and class contribute to diabetes health inequities:

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Whites (Caucasians) have the lowest rate of diagnosed diabetes compared to Asian Americans, Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans (2014).
  • According to ClinicalDiabetes Journal, “Racial and ethnic minorities, defined as American Indians and Alaska Natives, black or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, and Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders, have a higher prevalence and greater burden of diabetes compared to whites, and some minority groups also have higher rates of complications” (2012).
  • According to a report from the Institute of Medicine (IoM), “minority patients are less likely than whites to receive the same quality of heath care, even when they have similar insurance or the ability to pay for care” (2002).

Several government agencies are working on closing the health gap. For example, last month, “Two centers based at Michigan State University and Washington State University will share $20 million over 5 years to address health disparities of chronic disease. The funding is from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)” (2016).

How you can get involved:

  1. See the wall of stories on DOColors or Instagram
  2. Share a photo, caption, and tags to add your own story
  3. Download the shareable flyer to help law enforcement recognize the difference between intoxication and hypoglycemia



  1. The Disparate Impact of Diabetes on Racial/Ethnic Minority Populations. Edward A. Chow, Henry Foster, Victor Gonzalez, LaShawn McIver Clinical Diabetes Jul 2012, 30 (3) 130-133; DOI: 10.2337/diaclin.30.3.130
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National diabetes statistics report: estimates of diabetes and its burden in the United States. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014. Full Text.
  3. Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. Institute of Medicine. Board on Health Sciences Policy. Committee on Understanding and Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. Full Text. Summary.
  4. Abbasi J. Social Determinants of Chronic Disease Get NIH Attention . JAMA. 2016;316(16):1636. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.15480

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