Health Initiative To Invest $7M In Diabetes Pilot Project

May 1, 2018

A new partnership aims to reduce diabetes in three neighborhoods in Indianapolis where the rates of the disease are as high as 17 percent. The effort builds on work Eli Lilly and Company has developed in Mexico, South Africa and India.

Eli Lilly and Company CEO Dave Ricks says the $7 million, five-year effort will focus on three communities in Indianapolis. 

"Because of their high incidence of diabetes but also chosen because of active community engagement that we think is a key ingredient to success," says Ricks. 

Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will lead the project. Community health workers will focus on increased screening, improving continuous care and identifying social determinants that play into diabetes. 

Eskenazi Health will also partner in the effort as well as the Marion County Health Department. Director Virginia Caine says social factors that play into diabetes include lack of healthy food and public spaces that promote fitness. 

"The data is very clear that the health of a person may be influenced in larger part by where they live," Cain says. 

The three Indianapolis neighborhoods were chosen for their high rates of diabetes, sometimes more than 17 percent.  In Indiana nearly 12 percent of the population has diabetes. 

Ricks says the project will rely on community leaders and members. 

"To help us find new solutions for culturally specific social and environmental problems, economic and policy barriers that exist right here in Indiana and can help address the diabetes epidemic," says Ricks. 

The pilot supports new legislation that requires a statewide action plan to reduce diabetes.

CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this story listed the Fairbanks School of Public Health as an additional partner. For the purpose of clarity, we have noted Fairbanks is leading the project.