National Diabetes Strategy receives financial boost

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Research being driven by The University of Western Ontario that will enhance diabetes management across Canada recently received support from two of Canada's leading pharmaceutical companies in the form of a $500,000 contribution. As part of a joint venture initiative, AstraZeneca Canada and Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada announced the donation that will support the National Diabetes Management Strategy (the Strategy), a research partnership between The University of Western Ontario and the Canadian Diabetes Association.

"This funding will allow researchers to develop and evaluate evidence-based models of care to close gaps in diabetes management," explained Ellen Malcolmson, President and CEO, Canadian Diabetes Association. "In particular, the funding will help target challenges affecting family physicians and healthcare providers at the primary level who are delivering care to the majority of diabetes patients in the system."

The Strategy will focus on the Canadian Diabetes Association 2008 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada and identify success factors and barriers to family practice implementation. Researchers will also address professional education for family practitioners and healthcare professionals.

"Diabetes ranks third in most frequently diagnosed diseases by family physicians in Canada," said Dr. Stewart Harris, lead investigator for the Strategy who holds the Canadian Diabetes Association Chair in Diabetes Management at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. "In the decade spanning 1995 to 2005, incidence of diabetes in adults skyrocketed 113 per cent while the population rose modestly by 17 per cent in comparison. By supporting the Strategy, AstraZeneca Canada and Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada reinforce the urgency to advance management and prevention."

"The objectives of the National Diabetes Strategy are aligned with AstraZeneca's commitment to improve the lives of Canadians," said Catriona McMahon, Vice President Medical Affairs, AstraZeneca Canada. "We are proud to support a project that directs resources to family doctors and healthcare providers who are burdened with mounting patient volumes and increasingly complex diabetes cases."

Diabetes and its complications can seriously impact quality of life and bring devastating consequences to patients, including kidney problems, nerve damage, heart disease and blindness. When managed effectively, however, patients with diabetes can minimize risks and lead healthy lives.

"Ensuring the success of a national strategy for diabetes requires the support and collaboration of many stakeholders - government, the pharmaceutical industry and the medical community," said Dr. Mitch Shulman, Vice President Medical Affairs, Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada. "We're pleased to be contributing to this important initiative that has the potential to make a tremendous difference for the millions of Canadians living with diabetes."

Dr. Stewart Harris is a Professor at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry with appointments in Family Medicine, Endocrinology & Metabolism and Epidemiology & Biostatistics. Harris also holds the Ian McWhinney Chair in Family Medicine Studies and is a scientist at the Lawson Health Research Institute.