Last updated: August 24. 2013 8:10PM - 110 Views

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LIMA — Shama Amin is the type of person who sees a problem and creates a solution.As a pediatric endocrinologist in Lima, where she's lived since 1978, she saw many children with diabetes. Instead of just treating them she set out in 1999 to prevent the disease.“There is no cure for diabetes,” she said. “We can treat it, but we cannot cure it. The best way to treat diabetes is to prevent it.”She worked with local schools to reduce or remove soft drinks from vending machines and offer better food options. She also worked with school leaders and state legislators to improve diet and nutrition planning in schools.Three years ago Amin began working with local organizations to teach children to make better lifestyle and food choices.She brought together funding from a dozen local organizations including hospitals, medical academies, businesses and schools to create the Give Me 5 program. The program is run in Lima City, Shawnee and Spencerville schools, Quest and Heir Force academies and St. Gerard School.The obesity rate in Allen County remains where it was 10 years ago, despite rises nationally. Lima Mayor David Berger, who nominated Amin for the 2011 Jefferson Awards for public service, credits her efforts in keeping the rate the same.Amin is not pleased with the results so far. “Not very much, but it takes time,” she said. “It takes a long time to change the mindset and then it takes a long time to teach it to the parents.” In addition to her work against diabetes, Amin has served as president and vice-president of Lima Sister Cities Association. “I think that showing different cultures to Lima is very important,” she said.She helped with the formation of the India Club for Indian families living in the Lima area. She downplays her part. “A lot of the India club people were ready to go for it,” she said. “I didn't really have to do much. They just needed some direction, I guess.”She has helped with fundraising for ArtSpace Lima and the American Red Cross. Her work for Red Cross began when an earthquake struck India ten years ago.She says its in her nature to step up and create solutions.“I usually feel that I can help in certain things, and if I can help, I like to go all the way,” she said She's humbled by her nomination for the Jefferson Award. “It was very much a surprise. To me, I never think that what I'm doing is so great,” she said.“Actually, when people say I do it single-handedly, that's not true. A lot of people help me.“There's nothing you can do single-handedly.”You can comment on this story at LimaOhio.com


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