Erie County Medical Center and the Seneca Diabetes Foundation are partnering to improve health both in the Seneca Nation and across Western New York.
ECMC President Tom Quatroche recognized Barry and Deanna Snyder for their ongoing legacy of community service and health promotion at a ceremony on Tuesday afternoon.
The Seneca Diabetes Foundation, founded by the Snyders in 2005, announced earlier this year that it would create a $1-million endowment with the ECMC Foundation to aid in the construction of the hospital’s new trauma center and emergency department. To honor that commitment and the Snyders’ dedication to community health, ECMC has renamed its Grider Street ambulatory services center the Barry and Deanna Snyder Dialysis and Medical Office Building.
“This is the first health care facility to be named after the leader of the Seneca Nation – maybe the first in the state,” said Quatroche.
Snyder said part of the reason he and his wife founded the SDF and urged it to approve the endowment was to help the Seneca Nation move forward.
“To get everybody involved and understand that there is hope for diabetes,” said Snyder. “And we’re going to, hopefully, find a cure someday. But it became personal to me because of my family. When I thought about it, I have type two diabetes, my sons have type two diabetes. So I figured a little more of it, if we did something outside of the nation and helping them to assist them, whatever they need.”
Snyder said as many as 50 percent of the Senecas have diabetes – that they know of.
“A lot of people won’t accept the fact that they might be a diabetic or borderline until we come out to them,” explained Snyder. “I think we have to go out to them, house to house to talk with them one-on-one and try to convince them at least to get tested.”
Snyder also hopes the partnership with ECMC will produce better outcomes.
“It’s kind of an educational thing we’re looking for,” he said. “But we’re also looking for that ultimate part – that somebody’s going to find a cure for diabetes and that’s going to be the best thing in the world.”
ECMC will also help the Senecas address other issues, such as chemical dependency, behavioral health, and needs for diverse medical services.