Bristol-Myers SquibbThe Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has marked World Diabetes Day and the third anniversary of its Together on Diabetes initiative by announcing four new grants focusing on the important link between type 2 diabetes, depression and distress. Together on Diabetes also issued its third annual report.

According to the American Diabetes Association, people living with diabetes are at greater risk for depression than people without diabetes. The shock of a diabetes diagnosis and the daily challenge of managing diabetes can take a toll on an individual's mental well-being and cause distress. Both depression and distress can negatively impact the patient's ability to engage in self-management education and behaviors and to follow the medical treatment established by the patient's health team.

"Type 2 diabetes and depression or distress are common comorbidities associated with poorly controlled diabetes and suboptimal health outcomes," said John Damonti, president, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. "There is a need for the development of short- and long-term diabetes care models and self-management programs that address these conditions in an integrated way - especially for heavily burdened populations."

To address the important connection between diabetes, depression and distress, the Foundation awarded four three-year, $450,000 grants for the following projects in the United States:

  • Health Choice Network of Florida, a Federally Qualified Health Center serving Miami, will integrate behavioral services and care navigation into the diabetes care of high-risk patients diagnosed with diabetes and depression.
  • The University of Michigan will evaluate and compare the effectiveness of diabetes self-management and psychosocial support offered at African American churches in Detroit through either a parish peer leader or a parish nurse and compare those approaches to diabetes self-management education alone.
  • University of Colorado will develop and implement a program to enhance the ability of Federally Qualified Health Centers and primary care practices in the Denver area to provide coordinated, patient-centered care for patients with diabetes and additional mental and behavioral health needs through both clinic- and community-based services.
  • East Carolina University will design and evaluate a unique collaborative, stepped care and "treat to target" intervention for patients in rural eastern North Carolina who have both uncontrolled type 2 diabetes and comorbid distress and/or depression.

Together on Diabetes is the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation's flagship philanthropic initiative to promote health equity and improve health outcomes among adults living with diabetes in the U.S., China and India – the three countries with the greatest number of people living with diabetes. Since its launch on World Diabetes Day 2010, the U.S. initiative has committed more than $53 million to 25 grantees working in more than 60 communities. The China and India initiative has committed an additional $4.4 million to nine grantees with broad networks to reach, educate, serve and mobilize people and communities in those countries that are heavily affected by diabetes.

"We are proud of the innovations and impact that our grantees are having on diabetes in their communities," Mr. Damonti added. "Whether in China, India or the United States, they are all pursuing integrated and scalable approaches to achieve equitable and optimal diabetes outcomes. And they are doing so in partnership with people living with diabetes and a creative cadre of public and private sector organizations."

The Foundation's third annual report features updates on the initiative's grantmaking and highlights transformations in the type 2 diabetes response taking place at the patient, practice and community levels. It also summarizes the impact of five completed grants that have focused on African American women from the first national request for proposal issued by Together on Diabetes in November 2010 and captures encouraging successes emerging from grantee projects in all three target countries.

About the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation
The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to promote health equity and improve the health outcomes of populations disproportionately affected by serious diseases and conditions, by strengthening community-based health care worker capacity, integrating medical care and community-based supportive services, and mobilizing communities in the fight against disease.