Native Village
Youth and Education news
November 1, 2010 Volume 3

Sole Nation Health

Condensed by Native Village

"To provide footwear for the prevention of diabetic related foot problems among the Indigenous people of the Americas, and to offer therapeutic shoe fitting education and certification where possible to individuals among our Native Communities

Sole Nations is an American Indian owned company that helps prevent foot problems in diabetics.

Sole Nation Health began in the early 1990s when Ernesto Castro began working with Dr. Wesley Yamada.  Castro, who is Pascua Yaqui, owned a custom-molded shoe company.  Yamada was Chief of Podiatry at a hospital on the Gila River Indian Community, home to the Pima, Maricopa, and Tohono O'Odham Nations. The Tohono O'Odham and Pima have the highest incidence of type 2 diabetes in the world.

In 1990, Dr. Yamada began a prevention program for his patients which included Ernesto's custom shoes. Before the program began, the hospital averaged 24 amputations of diabetics' lower limbs each year.  This, too, was among the highest rates in the world. 

Since Castro and Yamada began their program, amputation rates have dropped by 88%. It has also saved the health care system over $10,000,000.

Ernesto’s custom shoes are now being worn by diabetics at Ft. Yuma, Ft. Defiance, Peach Springs, Shiprock, Ft. McDowell and among other tribes in Arizona, California, and New Mexico. 

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