Sylvia Flint and Dara Brown were pleased and excited about the opportunity to be among the presenters at the 2022 Annual Diabetes Free SC Conference that was recently held at the University of South Carolina Alumni Building, informing an inquisitive and attentive audience about ways community-based organizations can help persons diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. 

They represented the Diabetes Intervention Program (DIP) for Families at the Brookland-Lakeview Empowerment Center (BLEC) in Lexington. Their presentation was titled, “Health Care Providers Can’t Do It All: The Role Community Organizations Play In Diabetes Prevention,” and focused on the need for providers to partner more with community based organizations to address diabetes. 

“We received excellent feedback from our presentation,” said Flint, who serves as the DIP program coordinator. “It was an invaluable opportunity to provide information regarding our efforts to educate our community on the effect of diabetes and ways to prevent and control the disease.” Brown, who serves as senior community health coordinator, echoed Flint’s sentiments about the conference. 

“I hope the information we presented will help make a difference as other community-based organizations try to help prevent diabetes,” she said. 

DIP was established by a three-year $500,000 grant from the Office of Minority Health and through a community partnership with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). Awarded in 2021, the grant program is eligible to be renewed for a fourth-year with good performance. 

Targeting minorities living in Richland and Lexington Counties, DIP uses a culturally relevant curriculum to meet the needs of target populations using in-person, virtual, and hybrid (virtual and in-person) sessions. Community health workers (CHWs) and clinical guest speakers address diabetes knowledge, physical activity, nutrition, and stress management. Program participants are also supported through booster sessions, social media, home visits, and text messaging to encourage desired program behaviors and retention. The program is free to participants who meet requirements. 

DIP is essentially addressing a critical health issue. Data reveal that 90 percent of adults with prediabetes are unaware that they have it. Data also reveal about one in seven or 500,000 adults in South Carolina have diabetes and about one in six African Americans has diabetes. 

Statistics also show that one in four African Americans over the age of 65 in South Carolina has diabetes and one in six African Americans over the age of 65 in South Carolina has been diagnosed with prediabetes. Equally significant, one in five adults in households with less than $15,000 annual income has diabetes. 

“We deeply appreciate the leadership Sylvia and Dara are providing to the program,” said Dr. Cindye Richburg Cotton, BLEC executive director. “They have demonstrated outstanding dedication and devotion to ensure our program is highly successful.” 

For Flint and Brown, it was clearly a moment of triumph at the conference which they can recall with great pride and satisfaction. For more information about the Brookland-Lakeview Diabetes Intervention Program for Families, please contact Ms. Sylvia Flint by phone at (803) 744-1971 or email at