Throughout the United States, more than 22 million people in medically underserved areas receive healthcare at one of over 8,000 community health center sites. These "safety net" providers offer demonstrably high-quality primary care and referral services, despite operating with limited resources.
BD, Direct Relief, and the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) recognize that health centers have seen an increase specifically in the number of patients with diabetes. For these patients, this chronic condition necessitates prevention, or continued medical management and patient self-management to prevent acute complications and to minimize the risk of complications that develop over time.
While the rising incidence of diabetes is challenging, best practices to improve diabetes care and management have emerged, as have efforts to increase public knowledge about proper diabetes care. Health centers across the nation have developed innovative and cost effective strategies for preventing and treating patients with this complex health condition.
The purpose of the BD "Helping Build Healthy Communities" initiative is to support innovative programs that enhance care or expand access for underserved people and address the most challenging issues faced by nonprofit health centers across the country. 2015 was the third year of this initiative, which saw applications from a host of innovators in community health care, all with exciting new approaches to addressing health issues at a community level.
BD Helping Build Healthy Communities™—a collaborative program between BD, Direct Relief and NACHC—has two components:
- A pledge to donate at least 20 million insulin needles and syringes to community health centers (CHCs) across the country to support diabetes care management for uninsured and under-insured Americans. To date, BD has donated, and Direct Relief has distributed, more than 10 million syringes to these centers.
- Innovations in Care awards of up to $100,000 each to CHCs for innovative approaches to diabetes, cervical cancer and HIV prevention and management and the co-morbidities that often accompany them. Decisions on award recipients are guided by a panel of reviewers with expertise in clinical and community healthcare in each of the three disease areas.
"Clinics and community health centers all over the country provide critical services for millions of uninsured and under-insured Americans, but they face significant resource constraints," said Vincent A. Forlenza, Chairman, CEO and President of BD. "We are excited and proud to be working with Direct Relief and the National Association of Community Health Centers to help address some of these constraints and enable centers to continue delivering innovative care to underserved communities."