WASHINGTON, June 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Novo Nordisk (NYSE: NVO) employees from across the United States are converging on Capitol Hill on June 27, 2012 to urge their Members in the House and Senate to support the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) and the Special Diabetes Program (SDP), two vital programs that support diabetes prevention efforts in local communities, research for a cure and improved diabetes care. Diabetes advocates Nicole Johnson, MPH, MA, Miss America 1999 and NBA Hall-of-Famer Dominique Wilkins of the Atlanta Hawks, will accompany more than 200 Novo Nordisk employees on Capitol Hill for a full day of congressional office visits to discuss the company's unique approach to changing diabetes. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110414/NY80976LOGO ) Novo Nordisk Diabetes Ambassador Dominique Wilkins, diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a decade ago, is committed to better diabetes prevention and increased awareness. "Strong congressional support for community-based prevention programs is key to fighting this disease," said Wilkins. "The messages about healthy lifestyles that people with diabetes or those at risk for diabetes hear in their doctors' offices need to be reinforced in the real world." Providing funding support for community-based diabetes prevention programs is an essential part of reducing the costs associated with the disease and the number of those who are at risk for diabetes. The National DPP, a program that promotes physical activity and weight loss, is a clinically-proven, low-cost, community-based prevention program. Novo Nordisk representatives will urge Members of Congress to provide $80 million in FY 2013 to fund the National DPP. Another initiative in need of continued Congressional support is the SDP, which focuses on type 1 diabetes research at the National Institutes of Health and the treatment and prevention of type 2 diabetes in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. The SDP is a strategic and effective federal initiative to combat diabetes, but without congressional action, it will expire in September 2013. It is imperative that Congress once again renew the program this year to ensure all of its elements continue without interruption. Nicole Johnson, MPH, MA, Miss America 1999 was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a college student and understands the lifelong challenges this disease presents. "Research into type 1 diabetes through the Special Diabetes Program holds the promise of helping prevent, treat and reverse some of the devastating complications associated with this disease. The investment is small compared to the need and the long-term benefits. Congress cannot allow these programs to expire when so much progress is being made," said Johnson, a Novo Nordisk diabetes policy advocate. Novo Nordisk representatives will also ask Congress not to interfere with the Medicare prescription drug benefit, Part D, which provides comprehensive prescription drug coverage to over 29 million Medicare beneficiaries. This program has a demonstrated track record of success and cost savings. Alterations may destabilize the program.