2011 Task Force Highlights

Second Annual Diabetes Task Force

March 4-6, 2011, Naples, Florida

In 2011, Women In Government held the Second Annual Diabetes Task Force which highlighted holistic approaches to diabetes programs and policies, co-morbidities with related diseases such as obesity, heart and kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s, and strategies to address disparities in underserved communities. The conference provided legislators with a unique opportunity to focus on these pressing issues with colleagues and experts from across the country.

The topics below were discussed at the 2011 Diabetes Task Force:

Creating Holistic Approaches for Diabetes Programs & Policies:

The first panel of the conference discussed Creating Holistic Approaches for Diabetes Programs & Policies. Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Florida College of Medicine, Kenyatta Lee, MD, discussed the clinics developed in Jacksonville, which have facilitated lower acute emergency costs by providing free or low-cost preventative care. His presentation is available here.

Following Dr. Lee's presentation, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health, Susan Cooper, gave a presentation on Tenessee's programs to make positive, healthy changes. The role of state legislators and what they can do was elaborated in a presentation by Ivan Lanier, the Director of State Government Affairs at the American Diabetes Association.

Diabetes & the Connection to Alzheimer’s Disease:

The next topic, Diabetes & the Connection to Alzheimer’s Disease, was presented by Alzheimer's consultant, Michael Splaine. This session discussed the clinical findings and policy implications of the link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Judith Monroe, MD, gave a presentation on Diabetes & the Costs of Obesity. Deputy Director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Monroe discussed how healthcare costs associated with obesity could total 16 to 18 percent of total healthcare costs by 2030, the prevalence of diabetes and obesity, and the health programs designed to prevent or reduce the impact of obesity on this chronic disease.

Addressing Disparities in Underserved Communities:

The next topic, Addressing Disparities in Underserved Communities, discussed the alarmingly high rates of diabetes and other related complications in ethnic and racial minorities. Enrique Caballero MD, MA, the Director of Latino Diabetes Initiative at the Joslin Diabetes Center gave a presentation on how the The Joslin Latino Diabetes Initiative integrates a culturally oriented clinical care and patient education program, community outreach activities, professional education programs, and a clinical research program.

Diabetes and the Impact on State Budgets: 

With rising prevalence rates and staggering spikes in costs associated with treating acute and critical complications of diabetes, state budgets are significantly impacted by the adverse effects of this chronic disease. Stacy Mazer, Senior Staff Associate of the National Association of State Budget Officers, provided an overview of the healthcare budget outlook and explore how states prepare for the costs associated with this and other chronic diseases.

Diabetes & Cardiovascular Disease:

Marianne Legato, MD, founder of the Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine at Columbia University gave a presentation on Diabetes & Cardiovascular Disease. Dr. Legato discussed several women-specific aspects of heart health, and how those issues connects diabetes.

Lessons Learned from the Diabetes Ten City Challenge:

Benjamin Bluml, Vice President for Research at the American Pharmacists Association Foundation and gave a presentation on the Lessons Learned from the Diabetes Ten City Challenge. The Diabetes Ten City Challenge established a voluntary employee health benefit, provided incentives through waived co-pays for diabetes medications and supplies, and helped people manage their diabetes with help from a pharmacist "coach" in collaboration with physicians and diabetes educators.