Special Diabetes Program

One Voice Speaking Up for Special Diabetes Program (SDP) Renewal

The Special Diabetes Program (SDP) is a critical program that provides $150 million annually for type 1 diabetes (T1D) research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the country’s premier medical research agency. The SDP was most recently renewed by Congress in April 2015 and is currently set to expire on September 30, 2017. Renewal of the SDP is one of JDRF’s top legislative priorities, to ensure that promising SDP-funded research can continue delivering results toward better treatments, therapies, and – ultimately – a cure for T1D.

In June 2016, Senate Diabetes Caucus Co-Chairs Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Congressional Diabetes Caucus Co-Chairs Tom Reed (R-NY) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) invited their colleagues to join them on bipartisan support letters to Senate and House Leadership recognizing the important contributions of the SDP. Thanks to the dedication and persistence of JDRF Advocates – who met with, and contacted their U.S. Representative and Senators, asking them to sign the SDP support letters – we achieved amazing results this year with 75 Senators and 356 Representatives signing on.

To read the final letters, complete with legislators’ signatures, click the links below!

1.     The U.S. Senate SDP support letter
2.    The U.S. House SDP support letter

Why SDP renewal is essential

Congress created the SDP back in 1997, after its Diabetes Research Working Group, led by the bipartisan tandem of U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (GA) and Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles (NC), reported serious limitations in diabetes research—for T1D in particular—largely due to inadequate funding. The SDP consists of two initiatives: one to advance T1D research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and the other to fund treatment, education and prevention programs for American Indian and Alaska Native populations, who are disproportionately affected by type 2 diabetes.

Since its inception, the SDP has shown tangible results by helping scientists make significant advances in cure therapies, prevention studies and treatments—including artificial pancreas technology and groundbreaking advances in vision improvement among people with diabetic eye disease. The program is funded at $150 million per year—making it an essential component of the overall Federal investment in diabetes research. The SDP demonstrates a real return on investment annually, making it a traditionally popularly supported program across the aisle.

However, multiple-year funding—such as the most recent two-year renewal—is essential to continuing large-scale trials, proactively planning next steps for research programs and allocating research dollars most effectively. That’s why we must continue to work to ensure that the SDP is consistently renewed by the Congress.

Please remember to take action in support of the SDP!

All you have to do is share this page with your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers, and link to our pages on your favorite social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. If you haven’t done so already, please sign up to be a JDRF Advocate. Your voice will help us make a difference in the fight to help turn Type One into Type None.