$1.6M grant awarded to diabetes research, telehealth care

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The Leona M. & Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has awarded a $1.6 million grant to researchers from the University of Florida Diabetes Institute and Stanford University for the continuation of a study into providing access to care for underserved diabetic adults and children.

The 18-month grant will be used to support the research of Michael J. Haller, MD, a professor and chief of pediatric endocrinology in the UF College of Medicine, and Ashby Walker, PhD, the director of health equity initiatives at the UF Diabetes Institute.

“Many people are living with very bare-bones support for their diabetes management," Haller said. "We want to see if we can empower primary care doctors to provide more meaningful diabetes care for their patients. Given the shortage of endocrinologists and the need to increase access, the ultimate goal of this effort is to ensure better access to diabetes care for everyone living with type 1 diabetes."

Specifically, the grant will be used to develop telehealth “hubs” for virtual training and education. Researchers will work with primary care physicians and patients without an endocrinologist to gauge their needs and concerns. Additionally, physicians will receive training in decision-making from diabetes experts and assigned a diabetes care liason to explore opportunities to enroll their patients in research.

"Our hope is to reach adult and pediatric type 1 diabetes patients who may not see an endocrinologist for routine care but who could really benefit from the expertise of those specialists,” Walker said.