The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has kicked off  a five-year, $100 million initiative to help people with with type 2 diabetes better manage their disease.


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Bristol-Myers commits $100 million to combat diabetes

November 11th, 2010

NEW YORK – The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has kicked off  a five-year, $100 million initiative to help people with with type 2 diabetes better manage their disease.

Called "Together on Diabetes: Communities Uniting to Meet America's Diabetes Challenge," the effort is the largest corporate philanthropic commitment to fighting type 2 diabetes in the United States, according to Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The company said Together on Diabetes will leverage the foundation's experience in supporting community-based, nonmedical support services that complement medical care and improve health care outcomes. Such an approach helps remove barriers to diagnosis and care plus empowers patients to understand their role in managing their disease and reducing the risks it can pose to their health, the company noted.

Working with community-based, regional and national partners, Together on Diabetes will support efforts to develop and expand effective patient self-management programs and engage affected communities in the fight against type 2 diabetes. The program'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, Bristol-Myers Squibb reported.

“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," commented Lamberto Andreotti, chief executive officer of 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 foundation will make grants and create partnerships through ongoing, opportunistic grant-making and through themed requests for proposals, which will be issued each November during National Diabetes Month.

One of the initial grantees for Together on Diabetes is the American Pharmacists Association Foundation, which will work with government agencies, professional associations, pharmacy chains and other parties to adapt and expand the evidence-based Asheville Project medication therapy management 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 pharmacists who make sure they use their medications correctly.

Other initial grantees for Together on Diabetes include the following:

• The American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, which in partnership with Peers for Progress, the 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, which will conduct a pilot study of the effectiveness and sustainability of a flexible, multilevel diabetes education and support team that serves minority populations and that utilizes professional and lay health workers.

• The United Hospital Fund, which will work with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department for the Aging to develop and test an integrated, community-based diabetes control strategy for seniors living in "naturally occurring retirement communities" and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Bristol-Myers Squibb said the first request for proposals for Together on Diabetes focus 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.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 57 million Americans are prediabetic 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.

Bristol-Myers Squibb reported that the human and economic costs of uncontrolled diabetes are staggering. Nearly half of all patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (48.3%) 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. The CDC estimates that the United States 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," stated John Damonti, president of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation and vice president of corporate philanthropy for 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."

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