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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

By David Mendosa

Last Update: April 1, 2000

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, makes headlines when its scientists race around the world to deal with epidemics like the Ebola virus. But the CDC, as this prestigious federal government agency is known, also does a lot of less dramatic work that is of great importance to our health.

Keeping the site’s pages as simple as possible…

For people with diabetes, the work of the CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation, a part of CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, is especially important. The translation that this division is doing isn't about putting words into other languages. Its work is to translate promising results of diabetes research into widespread clinical and public health practice.

One way that it does this is through its CDC Diabetes Public Health Resource Web site. Since the U.S. government is the world's biggest producer of information and the CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation is a key part of the diabetes loop, you can find lots of authoritative data about it here.

It was about a year and one-half ago that I first reviewed the diabetes work of the CDC here. Since then the site has changed considerably, warranting this re-review. New Webmaster Nancy Haynie-Mooney has a lot to do with the improvements to the site.

"In January 2000, our Web site received 39,378 visits," Nancy says. "We are averaging about 1,000 visits per day. This is a 50 percent increase in less than two years."

The most visited pages are the Diabetes Frequently Asked Questions, National Diabetes Fact Sheet, Clip Art, Diabetes At-a-glance, and Diabetes-related Publications.

Nancy says that an analysis of their feedback comments shows that about 50 percent of the audience comes from the general public and about 30 percent from health care organizations. The other 20 percent includes people from schools and universities, businesses, and government agencies.

"Several of our on-line publications are directed toward the general public, but we also have a wealth of statistical information on diabetes for health professionals," she says.

For example, the Diabetes Surveillance 1997 book gives in-depth coverage on diabetes prevalence and incidence, mortality, use of health care services, cardiovascular disease, and other subjects. As chapters in the book are updated, they are placed on the CDC Statistical Analysis page, which gets this important information out faster.

When I asked Nancy what was the best part of the CDC diabetes Web site, she said it was the diversity of diabetes information available at people's fingertips, including several publications in Spanish. The Spanish patient guide Controle su Diabetes and the National Diabetes Fact Sheet in Spanish, Hoja Nacional de Datos Sobre la Diabetes, have been especially well received. Separate pages on each of the 59 diabetes control programs in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the eight U.S.-affiliated jurisdictions showcase these programs, activities, and contact information. There is also a section on Special Diabetes Projects that includes details on the division's racial and ethnic health disparities programs, the Diabetes Today training program, and information on children and diabetes.

Soon, the look and feel of the entire Web site will change again when the pages are formatted using the new CDC-wide design. One thing that won't change is the strategy of keeping the site's pages as simple as possible. Because of this, the CDC Diabetes Public Health Resource Web pages load very fast in comparison to some other U.S. government sites. 

The American Diabetes Association originally published this article on its Web site as one of my “About the Internet” columns.

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