The numbers don’t lie. Diabetes is an epidemic affecting one in 11 Americans, with nearly half of the nation’s adults living with diabetes or prediabetes, according to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

These statistics are staggering, and the increase of diabetes in American youth and across all ethnic groups remains a great concern and warrants an urgent call to action.  It is our mission at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to turn the tide on this growing public health burden and to stop diabetes in its tracks. We strive to achieve our mission through our support of groundbreaking research, our prevention and treatment programs, our continuing education opportunities for health care providers, our resources for newly diagnosed patients and caregivers and so much more.

The importance of partnerships

However, we know that we cannot combat the diabetes epidemic alone. The entire diabetes community, from providers to associations, to industry insiders to advocates, must join forces in a concerted effort to defeat this chronic illness that continues to impact far too many lives.

Working together, we can improve the lives of everyone living with diabetes and finally give this disease a place in history.

When we come together to address diabetes as a collective force, the impact is exponentially greater. One prime example is the birth of the Diabetes Emergency Relief Coalition in response to the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The ADA convened key diabetes stakeholders, including JDRF, Insulin for Life, the Endocrine Society, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the American Association of Diabetes Educators, Research! America and T1D Exchange to provide lifesaving diabetes supplies, care and support to people in affected areas. Together, we were able to send hundreds of thousands of pounds of supplies to people with diabetes in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Continuing our mission

We are steadfastly dedicated to our 77-year legacy of improving the lives of all people affected by diabetes, and some of our most effective efforts have been in partnership with key diabetes stakeholders. Initiatives such as the National Diabetes Prevention Program, the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test, a diabetes continuing education program for mental health providers and camps for children with, or at risk for, diabetes are made possible by transformative partnerships with several organizations. Some include the CDC, the YMCA, the Ad Council, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, Lilly Diabetes and the Leona M. & Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. These partnerships help us to improve the landscape of diabetes awareness, prevention and treatment.

Substantial progress has been made, but there is still much to be done to ensure that people living with diabetes have the care and support they need to thrive. Working together, we can improve the lives of everyone living with diabetes and finally give this disease a place in history.