For the second year, Franciscan Health Michigan City is partnering with local churches to educate their parishioners on diabetes prevention and detection, targeting a health issue more likely to impact those in the African American and Hispanic communities.

The free “Fan Out Diabetes” program is offered in two companion sessions following Sunday church services. At the first session, diabetes educators will provide a presentation on diabetes with information on healthy eating and exercise tips. Free screenings will be offered, along with insurance enrollment assistance and healthy snacks and giveaways. Guests are asked to also attend a second session where the church will be presented with fans for the entire congregation, along with a screening follow-up, health planning and referral information.

The first “Fan Out Diabetes” session will be 11 a.m., July 31, at Temple Worship Center, 1916 E. U.S. Highway 20 in Michigan City. The follow-up session will be Aug. 21.

Subsequent sessions will be at 11 a.m., Sept. 11 and Oct. 2 at Mount Zion Baptist Church, 123 Helen St. in Michigan City; and 9 or 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 23 and Nov. 13 at Bethany Lutheran Church, 102 G St. in LaPorte.

Franciscan Health Michigan City Community Health Improvement Coordinator Nila Williams said partnering with the churches and pastors is one of the best ways to reach the African American and Hispanic communities. “We have to meet people where they are and where they feel the most comfortable,” she said.

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death and continues to rise in Indiana with the most recent figures in 2018 showing a rate of 12.48 percent and 13.14 percent in LaPorte County. Non-Hispanic blacks are twice as likely to die from diabetes and Hispanics were 1.3 times more likely to die from diabetes than non-Hispanic whites, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“I want people to be educated on the prevention of diabetes, chronic illnesses and break those cycles. Let’s begin to change eating habits and learn to eat mindfully. Small steps can lead to big rewards,” Williams said. 

The Fan Out Diabetes program is provided with the support of program sponsors: The LaPorte County Family YMCA, Indiana Black Expo, Inc. Michigan City Chapter, Healthy Communities of LaPorte County, MDwise, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and Covering Kids & Families of Indiana.

There is no need to pre-register for the sessions, but participants are asked to attend the sessions on both dates. For further questions and information, email