Public Health Experts Address Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation Together On Diabetes® Grantees And Applaud Collaborations Between Clinicians And Communities To Reduce Diabetes Disparities

Public health experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Public Health Service applauded grantees of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation and its Together on Diabetes ® initiative for their collaborative efforts to improve health outcomes and reduce disparities for people living with type 2 diabetes by strengthening patients’ ability to manage their own care with supportive community services.

During the two-day summit at Emory University, nonprofit grantees and their partners from across the United States joined diabetes experts from the U.S. government and various academic and public health institutions to discuss how communities can build, integrate and coordinate medical, non-medical and policy efforts, and expand the base of community organizations actively bringing their know-how, reach, influence and assets to the fight against type 2 diabetes.

CDC reports that 79 million Americans are pre-diabetic and at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years. About 1.9 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in people age 20 and older each year. If current trends persist, as many as one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050, CDC projects.

Nearly half of all patients who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 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.

“While CDC has reported declining rates of some of the most serious complications of diabetes, including kidney failure, amputation of feet and legs, hospitalizations and vision loss, we are not seeing these drops in all groups,” said Ann Albright, Ph.D., R.D., director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, who addressed the summit Tuesday. “Improving access to health care, including teaching people how to care for themselves if they have diabetes, is so important. So is strong community support for healthy lifestyles.”

Together on Diabetes: Communities Uniting to Meet America’s Diabetes Challenge ® is the largest corporate philanthropic commitment to improving health outcomes for American adults living with type 2 diabetes. Launched in November 2010, this $100 million, 5-year initiative from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has awarded $32.57 million in grants to 17 organizations working in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

Together on Diabetes ® brings together some of the nation’s most respected and influential health care organizations and academic institutions to develop effective, comprehensive solutions that integrate public health, health care services, community supportive services and the strengths of our nation’s communities in order to improve health outcomes and reduce disease burden.

Rear Admiral Clara Cobb, M.S.N, R.N, an assistant U.S. Surgeon General and regional health administrator for the U.S. Public Health Service’s Region 4 in Atlanta, praised the Foundation and its partners for their “robust efforts … to improve health outcomes for American adults living with type 2 diabetes.”

Together on Diabetes ® is apropos because the entire nation is affected by this growing chronic disease,” Admiral Cobb said during Wednesday’s keynote address. “ Communities Uniting to Meet America’s Diabetes Challenge is reflective of a collaborative and inclusive effort to penetrate and make a difference for all Americans affected directly or indirectly by diabetes.

“With so many people impacted, even more at risk and millions who are unaware they are at risk, it is critical to educate early and often. Lifestyle changes that include losing weight and increasing physical activity can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes for at-risk individuals.”

Together on Diabetes ® grantees include the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Association of Diabetes Educators, American Pharmacists Association Foundation, Feeding America, Duke University, Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, Marshall University Center for Rural Health, among others.

“Type 2 diabetes is continuing to grow year to year in the U.S. despite significant prevention and control efforts,” says John Damonti, president of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. “The creative projects of our partners are challenging and expanding current thinking and laying important groundwork for more comprehensive and impactful diabetes control efforts going forward.”

You can learn more about Together on Diabetes ® at TogetherOnDiabetes.com. For an interactive map showing the Together on Diabetes ® project sites in 20 states, go to http://www.bms.com/togetherondiabetes/partners/Pages/partners-map.aspx

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.

About Ann Albright, Ph.D., R.D.

Dr. Albright has served as director of the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation since January 2007. She leads a team of professionals who strive to eliminate the preventable burden of diabetes.

Before joining CDC, Dr. Albright served as Chief of the California Diabetes Program for the California Department of Health Services and held an academic appointment in the Institute for Health and Aging at UCSF, a position she held since 1995. From 2003-2004, Dr. Albright served as the Senior Health Policy Advisor in the Office of the United States Surgeon General and led the Secretary of Health’s Diabetes Detection Initiative.

She has served in leadership positions with the American Association of Diabetes Educators, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American College of Sports Medicine.

About Rear Admiral Clara H. Cobb, M.S.N., R.N.

Rear Admiral Cobb is an assistant U.S. surgeon general and regional health administrator for the U.S. Public Health Service’s Region IV in Atlanta.

During her 32-year career at USPHS, she has held a variety of leadership positions and has worked across 11 divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and has worked with state and local government health officials.

She is the principal federal public health leader for Region IV, the largest HHS region in population and domestic geography. She has the overall responsibility for managing five programs: Office of Minority Health, Office on Women’s Health, Office of Population Affairs and the Regional Resource Network for HIV/AIDS Capacity Building and the newly added, Medical Reserve Corps.

Copyright Business Wire 2010

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