Division of Diabetes Translation At A Glance

family holding hands and walking along path

CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation is at the leading edge of the nation’s efforts to end the devastation of diabetes. The division works with other federal agencies, state health departments, health care providers, and community organizations to identify people with prediabetes, prevent type 2 diabetes, prevent diabetes complications, and improve the health of all people with diabetes. These efforts have helped millions of Americans reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes and prevent or delay serious diabetes complications.

What We Do

With an FY 2019 budget of $180.9 million, CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation (DDT) focuses on preventing type 2 diabetes, reducing diabetes complications and disability, and reducing diabetes-related disparities, which are differences in health across different geographic, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. To meet these goals, DDT works to:

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Measure how diabetes and its complications affect populations in the United States.
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Study interventions to find out what works best to prevent type 2 diabetes and diabetes complications.
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Fund and help guide states, territories, cities, and tribes to use proven interventions.
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Share information to help all Americans understand and reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes and diabetes complications.

Why We Do It

More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and another 84 million US adults have prediabetes, a serious health condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. A person with prediabetes is at high risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. A person with diabetes is at high risk of heart disease, stroke, and other serious complications, such as kidney failure, blindness, and amputation of a toe, foot, or leg. In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled as the US population has aged and become more overweight.

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with diabetes
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How We Do It

Measure the Burden of Diabetes and Translate Data Into Effective Programs
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DDT collects, studies, and shares information to assess the burden of diabetes, help guide public health funding and policy decisions, and measure progress toward prevention goals. For example:

Examples of Our Impact

  • CKD Surveillance System data are used to monitor progress on 10 of the 14 CKD and kidney failure objectives in Healthy People 2020.
  • The SEARCH Study has identified key gaps in knowledge, including why the increase in new cases of type 1 and type 2 diabetes varies across racial and ethnic groups. Information about these differences could provide important clues on how to tailor interventions for specific groups.
Help People Understand Diabetes, Their Prediabetes Risk, and How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
84 million Americans have prediabetes. Even puppy lovers. Know Where You Stand. DoIHavePrediabetes.org

Prediabetes causes long-term health risks, but usually has no noticeable symptoms. Most of the 84 million US adults with prediabetes do not know they have it.

In 2016, CDC partnered with the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the American Medical Association, and the Ad Council to launch the first national prediabetes awareness campaign. The campaign reaches millions of people and encourages them to take a 1-minute test at DoIHavePrediabetes.orgexternal icon. People at high risk are then urged to ask their doctor for a simple blood test to confirm their results.

The campaign website also provides links to the CDC-recognized National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) lifestyle change program, which has been proven to help reverse prediabetes. A second phase of the campaign, launched in 2017, offers viewers a “perfect way to spend a minute”: take the 1-minute prediabetes risk test while also watching fun animal videos.

In 2017, CDC partnered with the CBS television network to launch Your Health with Joan Lunden and CDC, a broadcast and digital miniseries that explores diabetes issues in depth.

Examples of Our Impact

  • Results of the prediabetes awareness campaign have far exceeded expectations: 2.1 million risk tests completed, 2 million unique website visitors, 10.1 million video views, and 59,000 clicks to the National DPP website to find a lifestyle change program.
  • Your Health with Joan Lunden and CDC segments were aired on CBS broadcast television, Health Media Network video screens in health provider offices, video screens in 11 airports across the country, and a variety of digital platforms, garnering more than 336 million impressions (number of times displayed).
Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes in People at Risk
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The CDC-led National DPP is a public-private partnership working to build a nationwide system to deliver an affordable, evidence-based lifestyle change program to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

Working with a trained lifestyle coach, program participants learn to make better food choices, be more physically active, and find ways to cope with problems and stress. These lifestyle changes can cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 58% (71% for those over 60). The program is delivered in person, online, by distance learning, and through a combination of these formats.

The Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program (DPRP) recognizes organizations that deliver the lifestyle change program effectively and achieve the desired outcomes. DPRP assures the quality of recognized organizations and provides standardized reporting on their performance.

Together with partners across the nation, CDC is committed to increasing access to the National DPP among populations most at risk, including those living in rural areas.

Examples of Our Impact

  • To date, over 1,600 organizations have received CDC recognition for delivering the National DPP lifestyle change program and served over 297,000 participants nationally.
  • The National DPP lifestyle change program became a covered service for Medicare beneficiaries with prediabetes on April 1, 2018. This is the first preventive service model from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation Center that has been expanded into the Medicare program—a landmark for public health.
Help People With Diabetes Improve Their Health and Quality of Life
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DDT works to increase access to diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) services, which help people manage daily diabetes care—eating healthy food, being active, checking blood sugar, taking medicines, and handling stress. DSMES has been shown to lower A1C levels, prevent or lessen diabetes complications, and improve quality of life. DSMES services can also lower medical expenses for people with diabetes and reduce the cost of diabetes to the US health care system.

Diabetes is about 17% more common in rural areas than urban ones, but 62% of rural counties do not have DSMES services. The use of telehealth—delivery of the program by phone, Internet, or videoconference—may allow more patients in rural areas to benefit from DSMES. CDC funds state and local health departments to improve access to, participation in, and health benefit coverage for DSMES, with emphasis on programs that achieve American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) accreditation or ADA recognition. These programs meet national quality standards and may be more sustainable because of reimbursement eligibility.

Examples of Our Impact

  • In 2017, a total of 3,045 ADA-recognized and AADE-accredited DSMES programs were offered across 58.8% of counties in 40 states (a net increase of 5.5% from 2013).
  • Seven states (Arkansas, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Washington) have used telehealth strategies to increase the use of DSMES programs in community settings.
  • 2.6 million Medicaid beneficiaries now have DSMES as a covered benefit (a 26% increase from 2013).
Fund Partners to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes and Diabetes Complications
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CDC supports national, community, and faith organizations; state and local health departments; tribes; US-affiliated Caribbean and Pacific islands; and other partners to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes, improve diabetes care and self-management, and prevent or reduce the severity of diabetes complications. CDC funds these partners to:

  • Improve prediabetes awareness among health care providers and people at risk.
  • Increase access to and enrollment in the National DPP lifestyle change program and increase coverage among public and private payers and employers.
  • Improve prediabetes screening, testing, and referral to CDC-recognized type 2 diabetes prevention programs. Increase DSMES access, participation, and health benefit coverage.
  • Increase use of community health workers, pharmacists, and registered dietitians to support type 2 diabetes prevention and DSMES programs.
  • Partner with health care organizations to improve diabetes quality of care.

Examples of Our Impact

  • In 2017, a total of 628,275 Medicaid beneficiaries had access to a CDC-recognized diabetes prevention program as a covered benefit (compared with 30,224 beneficiaries in 2013).
  • Five states have Medicaid coverage for the National DPP lifestyle change program, and several others are involved in demonstration projects or other efforts to pursue this goal.
  • In 2017, over 1 million people with diabetes participated in an ADA-recognized or AADE-accredited DSMES program (a 12% increase from 2013).
Page last reviewed: August 7, 2019