More than 40 American Diabetes Association Current and Past Presidents Demand Congress Renew Special Diabetes Program Funding

Arlington, District of Columbia
January 24, 2018

Delay in reauthorizing critical diabetes research and prevention programs puts millions of Americans at risk

In a letter to congressional leadership, more than 40 current and past presidents of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) came together to demand that Congress renew funding for the Special Diabetes Program (SDP). The group includes renowned diabetes experts, researchers, physicians and educators from across the country who wrote on behalf of more than 114 million Americans living with, or at risk for, diabetes.

The presidents, joined by ADA’s Chief Scientific, Medical and Mission Officer William T. Cefalu, MD, highlighted that SDP has unprecedented bipartisan support, with 356 Members of the House of Representatives and 75 Senators signing letters supporting reauthorization in 2016. SDP has proven results, including improved treatments and tangible progress toward a cure for type 1 diabetes, as well as vastly improved health outcomes among American Indian populations, which are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes than any other racial or ethnic population in the United States. However, Congress has failed to pass a long-term renewal of this successful, effective initiative, which is currently set to expire on March 31, 2018.

ADA leaders called on Congress to provide SDP with sustained, long-term funding because shorter renewals make it difficult for the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to invest in the most promising diabetes research proposals and for prevention and management programs in American Indian communities to retain staff to implement and lead these initiatives. They urged policymakers to work immediately towards a bipartisan solution that reauthorizes and provides long-term funding for SDP.

The full text of the letter can be found below.

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Speaker Ryan, and Leader Pelosi:

We, the undersigned past and current presidents of the American Diabetes Association and ADA’s Chief Scientific, Medical & Mission Officer, are deeply troubled that Congress has failed to extend funding for the Special Diabetes Program (SDP). One hundred fourteen million Americans are living with or at risk for diabetes, and it is unacceptable that Congress has neglected to pass a long-term reauthorization of a successful, effective, bipartisan initiative. We implore you to add long-term reauthorization of SDP to the next federal funding measure considered by Congress. 

SDP includes the Special Statutory Program for Type 1 Diabetes Research (SDP-Type 1) at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI). Both components of SDP have unprecedented bipartisan support—in 2016, 356 House Members and 75 Senators signed letters endorsing the reauthorization of SDP. SDP has proven results, including better treatments and tangible progress toward a cure for type 1 diabetes and vastly improved health outcomes in American Indian populations, which are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes than any other racial or ethnic population in the United States. These programs should have been reauthorized at a minimum of the current level of $150 million per program per year before the end of fiscal year 2017, but were only temporarily extended until March 31, 2018 as part of the December continuing resolution.  Short-term funding extensions make it difficult for SDP-funded programs to retain staff and for NIDDK to invest in the most promising research proposals. A long-term investment in SDP would maximize the potential of these federal dollars.

Critical research towards a cure for type 1 diabetes and programs for American Indians and Alaska Natives are in jeopardy the longer SDP renewal is delayed. We ask Congress to come to an immediate bipartisan agreement on SDP reauthorization as part of the next federal funding measure. 

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Meghan Riley, Vice President, Federal Government Affairs. 

Sincerely,

William T. Cefalu, MD; Chief Scientific, Medical & Mission Officer

Louis Philipson, MD, PhD, FACP; President-Elect, Medicine & Science; 2019

Gretchen Youssef, MS, RD, CDE; President-Elect, Health Care and Education; 2019

Jane Reusch, MD; President, Medicine & Science; 2018

Felicia Hill-Briggs, PhD, ABPP; President, Health Care & Education; 2018

Alvin C. Powers, MD; President, Medicine & Science; 2017

Brenda Montgomery, RN, MSHS, CDE; President, Health Care & Education; 2017

Desmond Schatz MD; President, Medicine & Science; 2016

Maggie Powers, PhD, RD, CDE; President, Health Care & Education; 2016

Sam Dagogo-Jack, MD; President, Medicine & Science; 2015

Elizabeth R. Seaquist MD; President, Medicine & Science; 2014

Vivian Fonseca, MD; President, Medicine & Science; 2012

Geralyn Spollett, MSN, ANP-BC, CDE; President, Health Care & Education; 2012

Robert R. Henry, MD; President, Medicine & Science; 2011

Elizabeth J. Mayer-Davis, PhD; President, Health Care & Education; 2011

Richard M. Bergenstal, MD; President, Medicine & Science; 2010

R. Paul Robertson, MD; President, Medicine & Science; 2009

Sue McLaughlin, MOL, RD, CDE; President, Healthcare and Education; 2009

John B. Buse, MD, PhD; President, Health Care & Education; 2008

Karmeen Kulkarni, MS, RD, BC-ADM, CDE; President, Health Care & Education; 2006

Alan D. Cherrington, PhD; President, Medicine & Science; 2005

Carolé R. Mensing, RN, MA, CDE; President, Health Care & Education; 2005

Eugene J Barrett, MD PhD; President, Medicine & Science; 2004

Francine R. Kaufman, MD; President, Medicine & Science; 2003

Anne Daly, MS, RDN, BC-ADM, CDE; President, Health Care & Education; 2002

Robert S. Sherwin, MD; President, Medicine & Science; 2001

Lee J. Sanders, DPM; President, Health Care & Education; 2001

Elizabeth A. Walker, PhD, RN, CDE; President, Health Care & Education; 2000

Gerald Bernstein, MD, FACP; President, Medicine & Science; 1999

Mayer B. Davidson, MD; President, Medicine & Science; 1998

Christine A. Beebe, MS, RD, CDE; President, Health Care & Education; 1998

Belinda Childs, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE; President, Health Care & Education; 1997

Davida F. Kruger, MSN, APN-BC, BC-ADM; President, Health Care & Education; 1996

Kathleen L. Wishner, PhD, MD; President, Medicine & Science; 1995

Linda M. Siminerio, RN, PhD, CDE; President, Health Care & Education; 1995

James R. Gavin III, MD, PhD; President, Medicine & Science; 1994

F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer, MD, MPH; President, Medicine & Science; 1993

Jay S. Skyler, MD; President, Medicine & Science; 1992

Edward S. Horton, MD; President, Medicine & Science; 1991

John A. Colwell, MD, PhD; President, Medicine & Science; 1988

Daniel Porte; President, Medicine & Science; 1987

Ronald Arky, MD; President, Medicine & Science; 1980


cc: Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman, Senate Finance Committee

Senator Ron Wyden, Ranking Member, Senate Finance Committee

Senator Lamar Alexander, Chairman, Senate HELP Committee

Senator Patty Murray, Ranking Member, Senate HELP Committee

Senator Susan Collins, Co-Chair, Senate Diabetes Caucus

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Co-Chair, Senate Diabetes Caucus

Congressman Kevin Brady, Chairman, House Committee on Ways and Means

Congressman Richard Neal, Ranking Member, House Committee on Ways and Means

Congressman Greg Walden, Chairman, House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Congressman Frank Pallone, Ranking Member, House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Congressman Tom Reed, Co-Chair, Congressional Diabetes Caucus

Congresswoman Dianna DeGette, Co-Chair, Congressional Diabetes Caucus

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 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)