American Diabetes Association Celebrates Signing of Pennsylvania School Diabetes Care Law


Michelle Kirkwood

Alexandria, Virginia
July 18, 2016

Legislation protects the rights of students with diabetes to safe care at school and access to activities

The American Diabetes Association today celebrates the passage of Pennsylvania school diabetes care legislation ensuring that children living with diabetes have a support system in place that allows them to be medically safe at school and have the same educational opportunity as their peers. The legislation, part of House Bill 1606, was signed into law Wednesday, July 13 by Governor Tom Wolf. It is effective immediately and allows for non-nursing school staff to be trained to provide routine and emergency care for students with diabetes, and also supports students who are able to independently self-manage their diabetes.

"The new school diabetes care law will be tremendously helpful in ensuring students with diabetes in Pennsylvania receive appropriate care at school and can safely participate in all school-sponsored activities," said Philadelphia attorney Alan L. Yatvin, member of the American Diabetes Association's national board of directors and former legal advocacy chair. "Pennsylvania families will now have comfort in knowing their children are safe at school. Too often, there are gaps in the care students with diabetes receive at school. It is terrific that Pennsylvania has joined the great majority of states by adopting a safe and sensible solution that allows school staff to be trained to provide and assist with diabetes care."

Nearly 208,000 children in the United States are living with diabetes and require constant management of their disease, particularly during the many hours they spend at school, on field trips, or in extracurricular activities. It is critical for children with diabetes to have a safe school environment where a trained adult is available at school to help with daily and emergency diabetes care. Through the American Diabetes Association's Safe at School campaign, legal and grassroots advocates across the country continue to work diligently to address and remove barriers to diabetes care at school.

In Pennsylvania, health care and legal professionals joined forces with advocates throughout the state to champion Safe at School legislation, including Alan Yatvin, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Steve Willi, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Elizabeth Suarez, Harrisburg advocacy chair Robb Wilson, Penn State Children's Hospital pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Margaret D'Arcangelo, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh diabetes program coordinator Marilyn Clougherty, and executive director of the University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute Linda Siminerio.

"We are extremely grateful to our legislative champions, Representative Matt Baker and Senator Patrick Browne, as well as the many volunteer advocates who were vital to our efforts," said Yatvin. "The passage of legislation in Pennsylvania marks a major victory for children living with diabetes and their families."

The passage of the school diabetes care law means that Pennsylvania now meets all three tenets of the American Diabetes Association's Safe at School campaign, providing students with equal and fair access to all school activities. These tenets require schools to:

  • Allow trained school staff members to administer insulin;
  • Allow trained school staff members to administer glucagon; and

Allow capable students to self-manage their diabetes while at school.

About the American Diabetes Association

Nearly half of American adults have diabetes or prediabetes; more than 30 million adults and children have diabetes; and every 21 seconds, another individual is diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. Founded in 1940, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization whose mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. The ADA drives discovery by funding research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, as well as to search for cures; raises voice to the urgency of the diabetes epidemic; and works to safeguard policies and programs that protect people with diabetes. In addition, the ADA supports people living with diabetes, those at risk of developing diabetes, and the health care professionals who serve them through information and programs that can improve health outcomes and quality of life. For more information, please call the ADA at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn)