Native American tribes have long struggled with high rates of diabetes. COVID made the problem even more urgent.

Luohua Jiang, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, works on implementing evidence-based diabetes prevention and management programs in tribal clinics around the nation. “(Diabetes) definitely increases the risk of getting serious complications when they contract the virus. Given the high prevalence of diabetes in American Indian communities, that makes things a lot worse,” said Jiang.