The Baxter International Foundation and Direct Relief Launch Program to Improve Diabetes Care in Underserved Communities

Multi-year program begins in Greater Chicago area and will help safety-net health facilities across the United States


A health provider at Erie Health Clinic shares a tool she uses with patients to demonstrate the amount of sugar in various everyday foods, and how to adapt their diet to control their diabetes. (Photo courtesy Baxter/Direct Relief

The Baxter International Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX), and the global humanitarian organization Direct Relief announced today the launch of the Transformative Innovation Awards for Community Health: Incorporating Nutrition to Improve Diabetes Health Outcomes. The three-year program will award $750,000 in funding to health centers and free and charitable clinics that are working to improve diabetes health outcomes for patients, focusing on the Greater Chicago area in the first year.

“Ensuring that individuals from all communities and neighborhoods have access to needed health resources is one of the reasons that we partner with companies like Baxter,” said Thomas Tighe, president and CEO, Direct Relief. “We’re excited to build on our collaboration with Baxter for the Transformative Innovation Awards and highlight the efforts of local providers who are bringing access to care for patients and communities.”

The health centers and charitable clinics selected for the first year will use the awards to expand nutrition education and diabetes prevention programs in communities located on the west and southwest sides of Chicago and Crystal Lake, Ill. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, there are an estimated 1.3 million people in Illinois living with diabetes, and another 3.6 million are prediabetic.

“We’re honored to expand our work with Direct Relief to bring needed resources to health centers that are working tirelessly to improve care for patients living with diabetes in under-resourced areas,” said Verónica Arroyave, executive director of the Baxter International Foundation.

Nearly $200,000 was awarded to the following organizations for the Transformative Innovation Awards in 2019:


A nurse at Community Health adjusts the schedule as patients are seen. Community Health serves various minority populations and has hundreds of volunteers that provide support services such as translation. (Photo courtesy Baxter/Direct Relief)

• With 12% of its patients being diabetic and another 6% prediabetic, CommunityHealth recognizes the importance of tackling diabetes through treatment, education and nutrition. With the award, CommunityHealth will more than double the size of its six-week nutrition program and workshops where patients learn how to cook and prep their own healthy meals.







A health provider at Erie Health Clinic shares a tool she uses with patients to demonstrate the amount of sugar in various everyday foods, and how to adapt their diet to control their diabetes. (Photo courtesy Baxter/Direct Relief)

Erie Family Health Center Inc.
• As part of its Diabetes Prevention and Management (DPM) initiative, Erie will use the award to start four new
lifestyle change groups based on the Centers for Disease Control’s evidence-based National Diabetes Prevention Program for adults with prediabetes and those with high risk factors. Lifestyle change groups deliver an intensive, structured educational program that focuses on patient behavior modification to support healthy eating, increased physical activity, and stress management. Additionally, funding will be used to expand one-on-one health education for diabetic adults.





Esperanza Health Center CEO Dan Fulwiler and CMO Andrew Jacob Van Wieren, MD provide an overview of the center’s services at their new facility in on Chicago’s Southwest side. (Photo courtesy Baxter/Direct Relief)

Esperanza Health Centers
• Esperanza’s nurse-led insulin titration program helps address the social and economic barriers that impact the health of its primarily Latino patients living with diabetes. The award will be used to expand the program that pairs a patient with a registered nurse who maintains weekly check-ins to provide ongoing, patient-centered nutrition education and counseling to address behavioral, cultural, and systemic barriers to healthy eating.






Family Health Partnership Clinic
• Family Health Partnership Clinic will use the award to implement a ‘Health Coaching Program’ developed by the University of California, San Francisco’s Center for Excellence in Primary Care, dedicating a nurse and health coach to improve health literacy and access to healthy foods, promote lifestyle and behavioral changes and increase patients’ awareness of their glucose levels. Those enrolled in this program will have their charts reviewed regularly by the clinic’s medical director, a specialist in diabetes management.

About the Baxter International Foundation
Every day, Baxter strives to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who depend on Baxter products and in the communities where employees live and work. The Baxter International Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Baxter International Inc., helps advance the company’s mission to save and sustain lives. Baxter partners with organizations around the world to increase access to healthcare for the underserved, to develop the next generation of innovators who will lead the way in advancing healthcare and to create a long-lasting impact in communities globally. Baxter is proud to support initiatives and organizations that make a positive, lasting impact in these critical areas. For more information, please visit Baxter’s Corporate Responsibility page.

About Baxter
Every day, millions of patients and caregivers rely on Baxter’s leading portfolio of critical care, nutrition, renal, hospital and surgical products. For more than 85 years, we’ve been operating at the critical intersection where innovations that save and sustain lives meet the healthcare providers that make it happen. With products, technologies and therapies available in more than 100 countries, Baxter’s employees worldwide are now building upon the company’s rich heritage of medical breakthroughs to advance the next generation of transformative healthcare innovations. To learn more, visit and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
About Direct Relief A humanitarian organization committed to improving the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies, Direct Relief delivers lifesaving medical resources throughout the world to communities in need—without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay.

For more information, please visit

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