Cities for Life Highlights Diabetes Management in Birmingham at American Diabetes Association 73rd Scientific Sessions

June 22, 2013


Christy Maginn
(646) 280-5210

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CHICAGO — Cities for Life, a diabetes management program in Birmingham, Ala. led by the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation with support from Sanofi US, announced today initial findings on the diabetes self-management program at the American Diabetes Association's 73rd Scientific Sessions. Three analyses of the data are being either presented or published at the five-day conference.

With nearly 26 million people living with diabetes in the U.S., and with one in three Alabamians born after 2000 developing diabetes during their lifetime, new models for diabetes management are needed.i,ii Cities for Life, which launched on April 24, 2012 in Birmingham, attempts to change these numbers. The program has both a clinical and a community component. The clinical component includes local family medicine practices that refer patients living with or at risk for type 2 diabetes to patient navigators who have special training and knowledge of existing resources within the
Birmingham community that can help patients manage their disease or reduce their risk for developing diabetes.

The community component is driven by a Community Action Team (CAT) of local primary care, health, civic, business, faith and media organizations with programs and activities that can help those with diabetes. The CAT helps update the website, a free searchable database that alerts people to the availability of local programs and services in Birmingham.

“We are excited to share the initial results of Cities for Life at this year’s American Diabetes Association's Scientific Sessions,” said Mary Jo Welker, MD, president, AAFP Foundation. “This program can serve as a model for other cities to follow as we strive to help educate people living with diabetes or at risk for diabetes on how to better manage their condition.”

“Diabetes is a 24/7 disease. While patients may visit their physician three or four times a year, most days they are left on their own to manage their condition,” said Robert E. Ratner, MD, chief scientific and medical officer, American Diabetes Association. Cities for Life helps people with diabetes or those at risk for diabetes identify the tools they need to manage their condition on a daily basis. The program has already made significant progress in Birmingham.

Cities for Life findings are highlighted at the American Diabetes Association's Scientific Sessions in three separate abstracts:

  • Cities for Life: Gaps in Perception between Primary Care Providers and Patients Regarding Diabetes Management: In baseline surveys conducted at program launch, data revealed that patients, providers and community members in Birmingham did not share the same views regarding diabetes management. While physicians reported patients have a lack of family support, patients and community members believe that knowledge about disease management and family support are adequate to help them manage their diabetes. Meanwhile, only a minority of patients and community members reported actually using available programs, revealing a lack of motivation is a barrier to utilization.
    • Presenter: Natalia Loskutova, MD, PhD, research project manager, AAFP National Research Network
    • Authors: Adam G. Tsai, Edwin B. Fisher, Natalia Loskutova, Sharon Hunt, T. Michael Harrington, Tamela J. Turner, Wilson D. Pace
    • Poster presentation # 00000707-P, category 07 Diabetes Education, Monday, June 24, 12 – 2 p.m. CT, Hall F1
  • Cities for Life: Community-Wide Resources for Diabetes Management in Birmingham: This analysis examines the Cities for Life program’s support from local government officials, primary care providers, patient navigators and voluntary health organizations, all coordinated through a broadly representative Community Action Team and a Steering Committee of four
    lead organizations.
    • Authors: Edwin P. Fisher, Natalia Loskutova, Lisa M. Jones, Joanice A. Thompson, Andrea L. Cherrington, T. Michael Harrington, Tamela J. Turner, Wilson D. Pace
    • Publication: Scientific Sessions Abstract Book, the July 2013 supplement to the journal Diabetes®
  • Cities for Life: A Mixed-Methods Approach to a Community Diabetes Resource Website: This analysis used a mixed-methods approach, including semi-structured interviews with key members of Birmingham-based, community organizations and the local safety-net hospital combined with community-wide outreach to identify programs for the website Results included more than 200 local resources to help individuals locate existing resources in their community to facilitate diabetes self-management and lifestyle modification.
    • Authors: Andrea L. Cherrington, April A. Agne, Debby M. LaCruz, Alfredo L. Guzman, Alexander Cotter, Janet P. Thurman, Natalia Loskutova, Edwin B. Fisher
    • Publication: Scientific Sessions Abstract Book, the July 2013 supplement to the journal Diabetes®

"Sanofi US is excited to see that Cities for Life is yielding positive results for the city of Birmingham. With the AAFP Foundation’s leadership, we are creating a better roadmap for how communities can work with family physicians and individuals to support diabetes management,” said Dennis Urbaniak, vice president and head of US Diabetes Patient Centered Unit, Sanofi US.

For more information about the Cities for Life program, visit

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About the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation
The AAFP Foundation serves as the philanthropic arm of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Its mission is to advance the values of Family Medicine by promoting humanitarian, educational and scientific initiatives that improve the health of all people.

i Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 2011. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2011. Accessed June 17, 2011. p.1,l.2,7.

ii Factors Affecting Benefit/Harm of Intensive Glucose Control in Type 2 Diabetes Reported [press release]. American Diabetes Association; June 16, 2009. P. 2, l.42-44.

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