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Case 2:  Globalization, Gender, Indigenous Peoples, And Type 2 Diabetes

Health disparities

S. Watson

You are a medical student doing a rural elective in family medicine.  There is a large First Nations community just outside the town in which you are placed.  You and your preceptor attend a multi-disciplinary clinic on the reserve once a week.  Abequa is booked for the next clinic.  She is a 15-year old girl who has recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus.  During her last visit, she left a list of questions about diabetes that she’d like answered.  Your preceptor suggests you read up on diabetes in order to answer Abequa’s questions.  The list of questions is as follows:

  • It seems like a lot of people here are sick with diseases like diabetes.  Is it like this off the reserve? 

  • At school, a lot of my girl friends have diabetes, too.  We looked on the Internet and read that diabetes affects men and women equally.  Is this true? 

  • Why do Aboriginal peoples have so much diabetes?



How would you answer Abequa's questions?


What resources are available to help you?


Are these questions a physician can answer?