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Local advocates gather in Washington D.C.

Local advocates gather in Washington D.C. for American Diabetes Association’s 2018 Call to Congress Advocacy Day

Advocates from around the country urged Congress to make diabetes a national priority; new study names diabetes most costly disease in U.S.

Special to The Sun: New Jersey advocates Alexa Mitchell, left, and Anthony Mitchell in Washington D.C. with more than 150 diabetes advocates including researchers and professional athletes for the American Diabetes Association’s 2018 Call to Congress Advocacy Day.

Press release:

On Thursday, March 22, representing the state of New Jersey, Alexa Mitchell and Anthony Mitchell met with representatives of Sens. Bob Menendez (D), Cory Booker (D), Frank Pallone (D) and Frank LoBiondo (R). Raising their voices on behalf of the more than 114 million Americans living with or at risk for diabetes, more than 150 advocates from across the country convened on Capitol Hill for the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) 2018 Call to Congress advocacy day. The advocates, including adults and children living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, family members and caregivers of people with diabetes, researchers, physicians and diabetes care providers participated in 179 meetings with their members of Congress and urged them to address the diabetes epidemic, now the nation’s most costly disease according the ADA’s newly released “Economics of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2017 ” (Economic Costs of Diabetes) report. In addition to people with diabetes and health care providers, advocates included 9 members of Team Tackle — an initiative to engage professional football players and members of the NFL Players Association to raise awareness of diabetes and prediabetes.

During the March 22 press conference at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, the ADA released the sobering numbers around the economic burden outlined of the diabetes epidemic and called on Congress to make diabetes a national priority and invest in critical diabetes research and programs. The report revealed that the economic costs of diagnosed diabetes increased 26 percent from 2012 to 2017, due to both the increased prevalence of the disease and the increased cost per person living with diabetes. These costs include $237 billion in direct medical costs for diagnosed diabetes and $90 billion in reduced productivity. The largest contributors to the cost to the cost of diabetes are higher use of prescription medications beyond diabetes medications (71.2 billion), higher use of hospital inpatient services ($69.7 billion), medications and supplies to directly treat diabetes including insulin ($34.6 billion) and more office visits to physicians and other health providers ($30 billion).

“Every 21 seconds another American is diagnosed with diabetes and this devastating illness continues to be a harsh economic burden on the people living with it and our nation as a whole,” said LaShawn McIver MD, MPH senior vice president of government affairs and advocacy of the American Diabetes Association. “Our Diabetes Advocates play a crucial role in telling leaders in Congress that they must act now to turn the tide on this epidemic.”

“The amount of individuals diagnosed and undiagnosed with diabetes is growing at a rapid and concerning rate,” said Alexa Mitchell, Junior Advocate for the American Diabetes Association Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware region, and type 1 diabetic herself. “Advocacy and awareness is essential for overturning this epidemic, and bettering the state of health amongst our citizens.”

The co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), also spoke at Thursday’s press conference, sharing their efforts to support people with diabetes and their continued commitment to ensuring federal funding for diabetes research and programs. ADA’s 2018 President of Science and Medicine Jane E.B.Reusch, MD, highlighted the importance of substantial investments in diabetes research in the wake of the insights from the Economic Costs of Diabetes report. Dr. Reusch is Professor of Medicine, Biochemistry and Bioengineering and Associate Director of the Center for Women’s Health Research at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Martha P. Clark, MBA, the ADA’s interim CEO, who has lived with type 1 diabetes for more than four decades, echoed Reusch’s urgent call for our nation’s leaders to take action and change the trajectory of the diabetes epidemic.

In meetings with their representatives in Congress, advocated asked legislators to:

1) Provide $2.165 billion to the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the primary federal agency that conducts research to find a cure and advance treatments for diabetes;

2) Allocate $185 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Diabetes Translation, which spearheads essential efforts to reduce risk, complications, treatment and management of diabetes while also continuing innovative translational research and surveillance; and

3) Support $25 million for the National Diabetes Prevention Program, an evidence-based lifestyle intervention program proven to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes

4) Increase transparency, affordability and access to insulin so no one who relies on this life saving medication ever has to worry if they’ll be able to afford it. Protect health insurance for people with and at risk of diabetes.

The ADA is proud to have more than half a million Diabetes Advocates across the country who raise their collective voices to help improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.

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 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 diabetes.org . Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find us on Facebook ( American Diabetes Association ), Twitter ( @AmDiabetesAssn ) and Instagram ( @AmDiabetesAssn ).

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