Abbott, ADA Launch Community Initiative to Advance Access to Diabetes Care and Technology

Last November, Abbott and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) announced the launch of their first joint community health partnership. The community initiative, which is the first program under the ADA’s Health Equity Now platform, will launch in Columbus, Ohio, and be conducted in partnership with the National Center for Urban Solutions (NCUS), a Columbus-based organization focused on providing solutions in workforce development, education and wellness. The program seeks to better understand and address healthcare disparities for people of color living with diabetes, while fostering accessibility of diabetes care technology within the community.

As part of the program, NCUS will provide up to 150 Black adults living with diabetes in the Columbus community with health education and access to Abbott’s FreeStyle® Libre flash glucose monitoring technology. By removing existing barriers to tools and technology, this program aims to demonstrate how continuous glucose monitoring can help improve diabetes management and quality of life for Black people living with diabetes in the Columbus community.

“Diabetes is one of the most pressing health issues of our time, particularly for people of color,” says Charles Henderson, chief advocacy officer of the American Diabetes Association. “Our Health Equity Now platform serves to tear down the healthcare barriers for historically underserved communities. The program in Columbus will gather real-time data that will help us understand the challenges preventing healthcare equity and uncover solutions to minimize disparities.” 

Black Americans are 60% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes and much less likely to have their condition well managed largely because care can be cost prohibitive. Further, Black Americans are at the most pronounced disadvantage when it comes to access to continuous glucose monitoring. This is one of the reasons why this project was established — to create awareness of healthcare disparities and find holistic solutions to drive improved health outcomes.

“Engaging the community in prevention programing and health awareness campaigns is key to saving lives while strengthening our communities as a whole,” says John Gregory, president of NCUS. “We look forward to the participation of members of our community to help strengthen the health and wellbeing of Columbus residents.”

“Black individuals across Ohio are twice as likely to die from diabetes compared to non-Hispanic whites,” says Joshua Joseph, MD, assistant professor of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at The Ohio State University. “New technologies such as continuous glucose monitors make diabetes management easier and lead to better control of glucose and may close the disparities in diabetes mortality. Unfortunately, Black populations have lower access and usage of such devices. Thus, approaches like the ADA’s Health Equity Now, getting continuous glucose monitors to those who need them most, are critical to advancing diabetes equity.”