This Trust Is Saving North Carolinians From the Ravages of Diabetes

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in North Carolina, where nearly one in 10 adults suffer from the disease. In 2011, the North Carolina Medical Journal estimated that the costs of caring for those with diabetes would rise to more than $17 billion by 2025.

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust is working to fight that epidemic, giving $3.5 million to the cause. The trust is based in North Carolina and gives only to organizations in the state. But it gives generously, with most grants exceeding $150,000. Nearly a quarter of its giving went to diabetes-related causes. (See Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust: Grants for Public Health.)

Much of the money went to diabetes management and prevention programs, such as the one at the Forsyth Medical Center in Winston Salem. The center received nearly $200,000 from the Reynolds Trust to help low-income adults who are prediabetic or diabetic. The treatment and management program will enroll 300 patients, while the prevention program will enroll 200.

The trust also gave to both the YMCA of Western North Carolina and Cleveland County. The former received nearly $200,000 for a program similar to that of the Forsyth Medical Center, targeting low-income diabetic and prediabetic adults. The latter received more than $130,000 to create a year-long, evidence-based prevention program to help adults lose weight and get fit.

A North Carolina Area Health Education Center (AHEC) was awarded nearly $150,000 to implement shared medical appointments at three federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) across North Carolina. FQHCs provide care to anyone, regardless of ability to pay, and often are stretched thin financially. Shared medical appointments save money by including several patients in a single appointment to promote diabetes self-management through a shared experience. The program plans to train educators who can implement similar programs at other North Carolina hospitals.

The Reynolds Trust also provides funding for equipment, although these grants are less common. Nearly $150,000 went to the Rural Health Group, a safety-net organization providing care to patients in underserved regions of the state. Rural Health used the money to buy eye cameras that test patients for diabetic eye disease. By the time patients notice the symptoms of diabetes, it is usually too late, so the screening machines will help the uninsured avoid the vision loss that often accompanies diabetes.