Johnson and Johnson Diabetes Institute is taking on the world, one diabetes program at a time. Or at least that's their intention. Today this pharma giant is announcing Diabetes HOW: Helping Our World, a huge initiative aimed at identifying best practices in diabetes treatment and care, and expanding and building out these successful programs around the world. So what does this mean exactly? That's what I wanted to know, too.
"We're focusing on programs that are successful at the moment and working to replicate them. For example, there's a group in Atlanta that has created a sugar-free elementary school. We'll start by focusing on schools and programs for kids, both Type 2 and Type 1, and build out the program from there," a spokeswoman tells me. Here are some "best practice models" in the United States that the initiative has highlighted on their website:
Despite the initial focus on children, I couldn't help wondering how this big initiative ties in with the National Diabetes Goal initiative, announced in May and supported by a veritable Who's-Who in Diabetes in this country. With a goal of screening and educating 59 million people, that one sounds equally exciting but difficult to implement. Apparently there's no connection between these two initiatives at the moment (?)
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In fact, it seems the details of the HOW initiative are just beginning to be hashed out, at a summit meeting kicking off in Brussels today. Key diabetes and public health experts from seven countries will sit down "to discuss and set an agenda on how communities around the world can improve care, achieve better outcomes, and address unmet needs for people who are living with and at risk for diabetes."
Specifically, their objectives are to:
- Strengthen partnerships between patients, health care professionals, diabetes and public health organizations, and business to support change at the community level;
- Identify and promote actionable best practice models that anyone can replicate to improve diabetes outcomes in their community; and
- Reveal the challenges faced by people with and at risk of diabetes globally and determine a path towards viable solutions.
For more details, see their program focus page, or you can follow their new blog, authored by Dr. Paul Madden. I also learned that Jeff Hitchcock, Founder and President of ChildrenwithDiabetes, will be blogging his reactions to the outcomes of the first HOW Summit. Jeff's nothing if not a straight shooter, so I can't wait to get the low-down from him.
btw, you can watch the HOW inspirational video HERE, which is pretty, but doesn't give you much detail on the "how" of HOW. What it does instead is remind us all of WHAT A HUGE PROBLEM diabetes is, especially with the world economy in a tailspin.
To boot: with November, National Diabetes Awareness Month, just around the corner, brace yourself for a slew of new initiatives. I just learned on Friday, for example, that Prevention magazine is also getting ready to launch "an amazing new diabetes initiative."
Hey, attention to the problem is half the battle, right? So hurray for new initiatives!