U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

National Diabetes Education Program's 15th Anniversary

In 1997, the Federal government launched a program to address the emerging epidemic of diabetes. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) joined forces to create and sustain a partnership of Federal agencies and private/community-based organizations that would dedicate themselves to reducing the devastating effects of diabetes.

Fifteen years later, the progress achieved by the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) is profound and is changing the way diabetes is treated. Although the prevalence of diabetes is expected to grow over the next 40 years due to an aging population, increases in minority groups that are at high risk for type 2 diabetes, the rising epidemic of obesity, as well as people living with diabetes longer, Program leaders are encouraged to see strong indicators that the diabetes community, coalesced and empowered by the NDEP, has taken progressively potent action to change outcomes:

  • Greater awareness that diabetes is a serious disease.
  • People with diabetes are taking steps to better manage their diabetes and reduce complications.
  • More Americans now know that type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented.

Read PDF iconNDEP’s 15th Anniversary booklet (PDF, 2.2 MB) to learn how NDEP and partners are Changing the Way Diabetes is Treated.

The Power of Partnerships

The NDEP is a unique partnership that brings together Federal agencies and a varied and diverse group of organizations and individuals addressing diabetes concerns. These partnerships have sustained the effort over time, contributing greatly to the success of the Program. Learn more about our partners and their tremendous efforts to change the way diabetes is treated in our Partner Spotlight archives.

Looking Ahead: Motivating Lifestyle Changes

In the early years of NDEP, there was an important need to increase awareness of diabetes as a serious disease. While NDEP has been in the forefront of raising awareness about diabetes, we know that more needs to be done to provide resources and tools to support health care providers and their patients when it comes to achieving and sustaining health goals. Looking ahead, the NDEP and its partners will continue to work together to find ways to help people take action and make important lifestyle changes to achieve their health goals – whether they have diabetes or are at risk for the disease. Together with our partners, the NDEP will continue to make a difference in the lives of the 26 million Americans with diabetes and the 79 million more with prediabetes.

Profiles in Change: Martha M. Funnell, M.S., R.N., C.D.E., Immediate Past Chair, NDEP

“Diabetes self-management education for people with diabetes has long been considered an essential component of improving diabetes care. After all, diabetes is largely a self-managed disease in which patients provide 99% of their own care. However, believing that patients need diabetes education and providing that education are often two different things.

The NDEP has provided patient education materials since its inception. These have been widely disseminated both in print and on the website. More recently, however, the focus has been on helping people with diabetes and those at risk for diabetes implement the behavioral changes that will help to improve their outcomes. The Diabetes HealthSense web-based resource, and the emphasis on behavioral goal-setting now on the website, reflect this focus. We still help people with and at risk for diabetes and health care professionals know what to do, but now we are also helping them to learn how to do what is recommended.”

The NDEP recognizes and thanks Ms. Funnell for her many contributions toward Changing the Way Diabetes is Treated.

From the Archives

In this clip from 1997, Dr. Charles M. Clark, Jr., M.D., explained that only 8% of Americans considered diabetes a serious disease. By 2006, most adults considered diabetes a serious disease, and today, nearly everyone, 98% still does.

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