JDRF Announces National Diabetes Psychology Fellowship Program

—Newly created program to increase capacity in diabetes clinical psychology,
diabetes psychology research —

NEW YORK, October 27, 2017 – JDRF today announced the creation of a National Diabetes Psychology Fellowship Program to increase capacity in diabetes clinical psychology and diabetes psychology research.

The United States faces a severe shortage of qualified psychologists able to provide care for people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D), even as the need for them is increasing and being recognized in benchmark diabetes care protocols. Psychologists must be trained to meet the unique psychological and behavioral health needs of people with T1D, who manage a chronic disease that requires careful management all day and night, for life.

“We want the brightest minds in medical research to be focused on type 1 diabetes, and this program will begin to help remedy the lack of psychologists in diabetes care,” said Derek Rapp, JDRF President and CEO. “By training additional psychology professionals to address the needs of people facing type 1 diabetes, we intend to help reduce the significant daily burden of this disease for as many people as possible, while we continue our search for a cure.”

The National Diabetes Psychology Fellowship Program will fund training for at least eight fellows over the next two years. Each fellow will be a postdoctoral student who will complete a year of training in diabetes clinical centers with some of the top research centers in the country. They will be dedicated fully to diabetes care and research during the course of the fellowship. Beginning in June 2018, the first four fellows will be hosted by one of several collaborating institutions and its participating mentors, including Stanford University, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Oregon Health & Sciences University, University of Florida, and Children’s National Medical Center.

The fellowship is part of JDRF’s expanded focus on behavioral health, quality of life and family dynamics for those in the T1D community. The effort is being led by Nicole Johnson, DrPH, a longtime diabetes advocate and leader who joined JDRF staff in August as National Director of Mission.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have Nicole Johnson at JDRF to make this type of program a reality,” said Rapp. “Her previous research and experience with the psychosocial and behavioral aspects of living with type 1 diabetes make her an ideal leader of this initiative. Nicole’s compassion for families managing life with T1D will ensure that these fellows receive not only academic training but a deep understanding and empathy for what people with diabetes face every day.”

“This program will bring support to an incredibly underserved population of people with type 1 diabetes, who must constantly manage a disease with life-threatening consequences,” said Dr. Johnson. “Many adults living with type 1 diabetes have had to manage it 24/7 for decades without a break, which can lead to fatigue. Often, people are diagnosed young, and the demands are great – T1D requires them to be their own physician, mathematician and personal trainer while they deal with the demands of everyday life as a kid or teenager. It’s vital that people with this disease have the support they need to live healthy, happy lives.”

The fellowship program is intended for professionals at an early stage of their career. Each applicant must have documented research experience, a career interest in diabetes specialized psychology, and must have completed a PhD program in the field of psychology no more than two years prior to the application submission.

The postdoctoral fellowship is a 12-month term, and during the program, each fellow is estimated to serve at least 550 clinical hours. The program expects to add at least eight trained psychologists to the diabetes workforce by 2020 and benefit approximately 5,000 patients with diabetes.

Applications are due no later than December 8, 2017, and fellowships will be awarded by January 26, 2018. Interested applicants can find application materials and details on how to apply for the fellowship at jdrf.org.


Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, called beta cells. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D, and — at present — nothing you can do to get rid of it.


JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Our mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. To accomplish this, JDRF has invested more than $2 billion in research funding since our inception. We are an organization built on a grassroots model of people connecting in their local communities, collaborating regionally for efficiency and broader fundraising impact, and uniting on a national stage to pool resources, passion, and energy. We collaborate with academic institutions, policymakers, and corporate and industry partners to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with T1D. Our staff and volunteers throughout the United States and our six international affiliates are dedicated to advocacy, community engagement and our vision of a world without T1D. For more information, please visit jdrf.org or follow us on Twitter: @JDRF.


Media Contact:

Kristy Evans


Email: kevans@jdrf.org