Advocacy Accomplishments – 2015 Highlights

Increased Government Commitment to Stop Diabetes

Federal funding for diabetes research and programs grew as Congress:

  • Added $68 million for diabetes research at the National Institute of Health's National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) for total funding of over $1.8 billion;
  • Increased funding at the Center for Disease Control's Division of Diabetes Translation by $30 million, for total funding of over $170 million;
  • Doubled the budget for the National Diabetes Prevention Program to $20 million;
  • Renewed Special Diabetes Programs funding for two years, providing $150 million annually for research on type 1 diabetes and another $150 million annually for programs in American Indian and Alaska Native communities, for a total of $600 million dollars; and
  • Continued to include diabetes among the diseases eligible for the Department of Defense's Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.

Expanded Success in the Safe at School Campaign

Through legislative victories in Arkansas, Hawaii and Nevada, three more states meet the key tenets of the Association's Safe at School campaign by providing access to insulin and glucagon and appropriate diabetes self-management. An attempt to undo legislation in Indiana was successfully defeated. Over the past four years, we added 15 states to the list of those providing these important protections for children with diabetes – surpassing our Strategic Plan goal by three states.

Four Advanced School Advocacy Trainings added 57 new school advocates to the ranks of those providing workshops and support for families across the country.

Public awareness of Safe at School is on the rise, through a variety of channels, including:

  • Safe at School Twitter Chat garnering 4.7 million impressions.
  • Posts on Safe at School, including back to school tips in U.S. New and World Report's monthly diabetes blog.
  • An October New York Times article about diabetes and discrimination at School, featured the Safe at School initiative and was included in the paper's list of Medical and Health News That Stuck With Us in 2015.

Strengthened Our Voice in Washington, DC and State Capitals Across the Country

Call to Congress engaged dedicated Diabetes Advocates from across the country who held over 200 meetings on Capitol Hill explaining the need for additional funding for diabetes research and programs.

Advocates held over 100 in-district meetings with their members of Congress during the August recess – a threefold increase from previous years.

The Association also raised its public policy voice through testimony for Congressional hearings, leadership on Congressional sign-on letters, a petition signed by over 31,000 advocates, 65 state advocacy days, summits, briefings and caucus meetings, tens of thousands of emails and phone calls to elected officials, and collaborations such as our leadership in the Friends of NIDDK coalition.

Reached Out to the Health Care Community

Health care professionals participated in sessions on Advocacy at the Association's Postgraduate Course and Scientific Sessions, and at other professional conferences on topics including the impact of advocacy on diabetes education and diabetes discrimination across the lifespan.

Finished the 2012-2015 Strategic Plan with 350% growth in the Association's Health Care Professionals Legal Advocacy Network, with more than 1,600 doctors, nurses, dieticians, diabetes educators and others working to end discrimination based on diabetes.

Focused Advocacy Efforts on Those at High Risk

Launched Screen at 23 campaign with partners in Asian American community to build awareness of the recommended Body Mass Index for screening Asian Americans for diabetes.

Published "A Call to Action: Eliminating Diabetes Disparities in Native Communities" in Clinical Diabetes.

Ten state legislative victories addressed health disparities – ranging from healthy food financing, to promoting cultural competency in health care professionals, to funding programs and offices aimed at reducing health disparities.

Built relationships with community-specific groups includingthe National Bar Association, National Indian Health Board, Mexican Embassy, and Telemundo.

Inspired Advocates to Action

Advocates in Action webinars trained grasstops advocates on topics including advocacy at Association events, outreach to communities hit hardest by diabetes, ending discrimination, and mobilizing advocates to meet with elected officials. A series of Legal Advocacy webinars engaged school advocates, families of children with diabetes, and health care professionals in our anti-discrimination efforts and provided crucial resources.

Advocates in Action Step Out teams numbered 73 strong, including 292 individuals – an increase of 24%.

Launched American Diabetes Association Advocacy Mobile App with easy to access tools to recruit new advocates, learn about our policy priorities, and take action.

Engaged Diabetes Advocates through eight Regional Advocacy Trainings reaching new advocacy leaders in 21 markets.

Fought to Improve Diabetes Care and Coordination

Vastly improved United States Preventive Services Task Force recommendations will identify millions more Americans with undiagnosed diabetes and prediabetes and make both testing for diabetes and behavior counseling interventions available at no charge to the patient through most insurance plans.

Continued efforts to improve access to quality health insurance through 18 sets of official comments as well as letters, legal briefs, and meetings with Administration officials. Engaged in legislation and regulation to bring greater transparency and consumer protections while also continuing our work to expand Medicaid eligibility to our most vulnerable populations with diabetes and improve Medicaid coverage for people with diabetes. Medicare focus was on consumer protections, ensuring access to disease management tools, and primary prevention.

Enacted Diabetes Action Plan Legislation, which provides for state coordination on diabetes and development of an action plan, in five more states, part of an unprecedented total of 57 state legislative and regulatory victories for the year.

Reauthorized the Children's Health Insurance Program for two years – providing access to coverage for millions of children including those with diabetes who rely on it for quality, affordable, pediatric-appropriate health care.

Advocated for Public Policies to Prevent Diabetes

Primary prevention laws passed in eight states promoting access to healthy environments for children and adults in the school, community, and workplace settings.

Releasedjoint statement with the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association to assist evaluating physical education initiatives at the federal and state level.

Stronger funding provisions for physical education, passed as part of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans include many Association recommendations for healthy eating including limiting added sugar to less than 10 percent of calories consumed and limiting saturated fats and sodium.

Protected Legal Rights

Florida passed legislation establishing a statewide training program on diabetes for law enforcement personnel. The law stems from a fatal police interaction involving a man with diabetes and represents the first such law in the country.

The Association provided recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration regarding medical evaluation of pilots with insulin-treated diabetes, an important step in our advocacy to open up this career path for people with diabetes.

Following a nine-year wait, we celebrated publication of a proposed new rule governing commercial drivers with insulin-treated diabetes. When finalized, the rule will support people with diabetes who work as drivers as well as in many other professions.

Through a series of Diabetes Stops Here blog posts and publication of three issues of Diabetes Docket e-newsletter, we educated thousands on the rights of people with diabetes.

  • Last Reviewed: February 26, 2016
  • Last Edited: February 29, 2016

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Diabetes Forecast