Filipino Diabetes Forum

Free educational seminar to help Filipinos live healthier lives

Western Sydney Diabetes Credentialed Diabetes Educator Jaybee Serrano, with the Diabetes Prevention Poster, and Western Sydney Diabetes Endocrinologist Dr Rona Francisco who will be speaking at the forum.

Five years ago Jaybee Serrano went to Blacktown Hospital’s emergency department with severe neck pain. 

As a result of routine blood tests, which included a HbA1c test, he learned he had prediabetes.

 Jaybee, who is Filipino, said it was the wake-up call he needed to change his lifestyle and eating habits.

 People of a Filipino background are one of the highest ethnic groups at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and western Sydney is home to the largest of Sydney’s Filipino migrant population.

According to WSD, people born in the Philippines are at a much higher risk of diabetes than people born in Australia or Europe, and this translates to a 50 per cent increased risk of ischaemic heart disease in Filipino people.

“Even knowing I had a genetic predisposition to diabetes, it was still a shock,” Jaybee said.

“I am now at a level where I no longer have prediabetes but making small changes that fitted my lifestyle is what has worked,” he said. 

“It makes me sad that it’s accepted to have diabetes in the Filipino community. Sadly, when you have complications that’s when people do something about it.”

He was inspired to learn more about diabetes and became a Credentialed Diabetes Educator, where he now works with Western Sydney Diabetes (WSD).

Jaybee will be sharing his story at a free community forum on Saturday, September 3 at Blacktown Library.

In collaboration with WSD and Blacktown Council, the Filipino Australian Diabetes Support Network is targeting the Filipino community to educate them about diabetes prevention.

The Network was formed in 2021 after WSD organised a Western Sydney Filipino Leaders meeting to highlight the high rates of diabetes in the Filipino community.

More than 70 health practitioners and community leaders attended the online meeting and the Western Sydney Diabetes Filipino Working Group was established, which later became the Filipino Australian Diabetes Support Network.

Chaired by Celestina Shori, a Diabetes Educator at St George and Sutherland Hospitals Diabetes Network, topics covered will include:

·       WSD Endocrinologist Dr Rona Francisco will discuss What is diabetes?; 

·       WSD CDE Bernadette Sadsad will talk about diabetes complications and annual cycle of care;

·       Diabetes dietitian Dean Paningbatan will discuss Healthy eating – the Filipino way; and

·       Exercise physiologist and dietitian Rhea Balmaceda will talk about and demonstrate suitable physical activities.


The Network will also launch its Diabetes Prevention Poster, followed by a Q&A panel discussion.

Dr Francisco said diabetes is a major health issue for the Filipino community and the rate of diabetes in western Sydney is growing. 

“As Filipino health professionals who work in the field of diabetes, we understand the culture and we want to promote lifestyle changes, including how to prepare Filipino food in a healthier way,” Dr Francisco said. 

This free educational seminar is designed to support the Filipino community to live healthier lives.”

Details: 9.30am-12.30pm, Saturday, September 3, 2022, Blacktown Library (Max Webber) Function Centre, 61 Flushcombe Road, Blacktown. Light lunch will be provided.


Register here.


Inquiries: 0450 749 049 or email

 Media inquiries: eEngagement and Education Manager, Heloise Tolar, or 0417 872 245.