The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation announced Together on Diabetes®: Communities Uniting to Meet America’s Diabetes Challenge, a 5-year, $100 million initiative to help patients living with type 2 diabetes better manage their disease beyond the doors of their doctor’s office – in their homes and communities – and for the course of their disease.
The largest corporate philanthropic commitment to fighting type 2 diabetes in the United States, Together on Diabetes® will draw upon the Foundation’s deep experience supporting community-based, non-medical support services that complement medical care and improve health outcomes. This approach – first employed by the Foundation in 1999 as part of its groundbreaking $150 million SECURE THE FUTURE® initiative to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa – helps remove barriers to diagnosis and care while empowering patients to understand their role in managing their disease and reducing the risks it can pose to their health.
Together on Diabetes® is the Foundation’s first large-scale diabetes initiative. Working with a wide variety of community-based, regional and national partners, Together on Diabetes® will support efforts to develop and expand effective patient self-management programs and broadly engage affected communities in the fight against type 2 diabetes. The initiative’s “innovation fund” will encourage and test new ideas for controlling type 2 diabetes, which today affects about one in 12 Americans and could affect as many as one in three Americans by 2050. Together on Diabetes® also released its first request for proposals, which focuses on African American women.
“Type 2 diabetes is one of the United States’ greatest health challenges and disproportionately affects the poor, minorities and the elderly, many of whom are not receiving the care and support they need to improve their glycemic control,” says Lamberto Andreotti, chief executive officer, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “Together on Diabetes® will draw on the strengths of communities and support public- and private-sector partners coming together to identify and implement disease management approaches that work for large segments of the population.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 57 million Americans are pre-diabetic and at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years. About 1.6 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in people age 20 and older each year. African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and Asian Americans, including Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, and the elderly, are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-Hispanic whites.
“This initiative harnesses the strength of corporate philanthropy and non-profit sector expertise to enhance type 2 diabetes awareness in the most at risk and affected communities,” said Deborah Fillman, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.D.E., president of the American Association of Diabetes Educators. “We believe it will yield clear and measurable results and reduce the scope of the type 2 diabetes epidemic in the U.S.”
The human and economic costs of uncontrolled diabetes are staggering and the need to step up control efforts is urgent. Nearly half of all patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes – 48.3 percent – do not have their disease adequately controlled through a combination of diet, physical activity and medication. Patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes face increased risk of complications such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and stroke; damage to the nerves, eyes and kidneys; and amputation of the fingers, toes or limbs. CDC estimates the U.S. spent $116 billion in 2007 for direct medical services to treat diagnosed cases of diabetes and $58 billion in indirect costs such as disability and lost work time.
“The health implications of type 2 diabetes are significant, both for the individual and for society,” says John Damonti, president, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, and vice president, Corporate Philanthropy, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “Our experiences with SECURE THE FUTURE® and other Foundation initiatives around the world have shown that mobilizing affected communities can have a profound impact on improving patient quality of life and health outcomes.”
The Foundation will make grants and forge partnerships through two processes: ongoing, opportunistic grantmaking and themed requests for proposals, which will be issued each November during National Diabetes Month. The initial grantees for Together on Diabetes® are:
- The American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, in partnership with Peers for Progress, National Council of La Raza and the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, will incorporate patient self-management education, peer support and community outreach for low-income Hispanics and African Americans into the patient-centered medical home model.
- The American Association of Diabetes Educators will conduct a pilot study of the effectiveness and sustainability of a flexible, multi-level diabetes education and support team that serves minority populations and that utilizes professional and lay health workers.
- The American Pharmacists Association Foundation, working with government agencies, professional associations, pharmacy chains and others, will adapt and expand the evidence-based Asheville Project model to patients covered by public and private health insurance in 25 communities heavily affected by diabetes. In this model, patients receive diabetes education and then are teamed with community-based pharmacists who make sure they use their medications correctly.
- The United Hospital Fund, working with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department for the Aging, will develop and test an integrated, community-based diabetes control strategy for seniors living in “naturally occurring retirement communities” and the surrounding neighborhoods.
Foundation seeks additional proposals
Together on Diabetes® first request for proposals focuses on African American women. Five grants up to $300,000 each will be awarded. African American women represent one of the highest risk groups for type 2 diabetes based on prevalence and disease burden. About one in 10 African American women age 20 and older has diabetes, a rate that more than doubles to one in four for African American women over 55. African Americans also suffer high rates of diabetes’ most serious complications: blindness, amputation and kidney failure. The purpose of the request for proposals is to encourage, identify and promote new evidence-based approaches to empowering African American women to control their diabetes while taking into account the opportunity they have to influence the health of their families and communities as well.
You can learn more about Together on Diabetes® at TogetherOnDiabetes.com.
About the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation
The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes around the world for patients disproportionately affected by serious disease.