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By Morgan Hughes

A West Columbia community group has been chosen as part of a $3.4 million federal program to prevent and manage Type 2 diabetes rates among African American and Hispanic residents. The Brookland-Lakeview Empowerment Center will receive $500,000 to put between 200 and 350 people through a 24-week educational program to teach them ways to manage their diabetes and potentially prevent the worst consequences of the disease, which can lead to kidney problems, amputations and even death.

It’s an effort many say will prevent deaths and improve the quality of life for diabetic residents who otherwise would not have access to similar resources.