American Diabetes Association

American Diabetes Association
Founded 1940
Key people
Kevin L. Hagan, Chief Executive Officer
Robin Richardson, Chair of the Board
Mission To prevent and cure diabetes and improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is a United States-based association working to fight the consequences of diabetes and to help those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to manage, cure and prevent diabetes (including type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, and pre-diabetes); delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides information for both patients and health care professionals; and advocates on behalf of people denied their rights because of diabetes.[1]

In 2014 it was estimated that 29.1 million Americans have diabetes, and another 86 million have prediabetes.[2]

History and mission

Formed in 1940, the ADA was founded by 28 physicians.[3] During its first 30 years, the Association limited its membership to physicians, health professionals and corporations. In 1970, the Association underwent a reorganization during which membership was expanded to include general members. Now the ADA is a volunteer-driven organization based in Alexandria, Virginia, with about 90 local offices across the United States.[4]

The mission of the ADA is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.[1] To fulfill this mission, the Association funds research, publishes scientific findings, provides information and other services to people with diabetes, their families, health professionals and the public. The Association is also actively involved in advocating for scientific research and for the rights of people with diabetes.[1] The Association acts on its mission through a number of critical programs and activities that are directed to a broad range of constituents, including consumers, research scientists, health care professionals, corporations and communities.

In 1994, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, an industry publication, study showed that the American Diabetes Association was ranked as the 18th "most popular charity/non-profit in America" from over 100 charities researched with 33.8% of Americans over the age of 12 choosing Love and Like A Lot for the American Diabetes Association.[5]

On June 1, 2015, the Association welcomed a new CEO, Kevin L. Hagan. Hagan came from the international relief organization Feed the Children, which he had led for about three years.

The ADA is America's leading 501(c)3 nonprofit charity providing diabetes research, information and advocacy.[6]

The ADA raises most monies themselves and their overall fundraising expenses are 26%, with 74 cents of every dollar raised being used for research and programs.[7] However, in the past the organization has engaged telemarketers at very large costs. In one instance, the ADA entered into contract with InfoCision, a telemarketing firm that works closely with nonprofits, whereby only 15% of the expected funds raised would be given to the ADA with the other 85% being kept by the telemarketing firm. Furthermore, the telemarketers were instructed to lie to prospective donors regarding how much of their donation will go to the ADA.[8][9] When questioned by NBC's Lisa Myers about this campaign, a representative from the ADA expressed no regrets saying in part that "this program is a teenie weenie part of what they do; it's about bringing more people into the organization," and stating that the program was not misleading despite the fact that prospective donors were being lied to regarding what percentage of their donation will be going to the ADA. As for what the ADA's response would be to donors who feel duped, the representative said that the ADA would say "thank you for the gift, it's making a difference, every single penny makes a positive impact." [10]


ADA-funded research

The ADA Research Program supports basic and clinical diabetes research aimed at preventing, treating and curing diabetes. The diabetes research projects the Association supports cover the spectrum from islet cell biology and transplantation techniques, to studies in education and behavioral issues.[11] The Association has increased support for diabetes research from providing $18 million in 1999 to making $47.6 million available for diabetes research in 2013.[12]

The ADA’s research funding program is designed to complement the National Institutes of Health (NIH) diabetes research program by supporting new investigators and new research ideas.[12] With support from the Association, investigators are often able to prove that their ideas are solid enough to get more substantial funding from the United States federal government.[12]

Research Foundation

Founded in October 1994, the ADA Research Foundation (also a 501(c)3 nonprofit) was created to substantially accelerate the Association's ability to raise major gifts to directly fund diabetes research.[13] The mission of the Research Foundation is to ensure the availability of funds necessary for the full exploration of all the scientific possibilities that diabetes research is generating.[13]

Donations contributed to the Research Foundation help support more than 400 awards at more than 160 research institutions across the country. All non-research costs associated with the Research Program are paid through the Association's general fund.[13]

Scientific Sessions

Every year the ADA hosts Scientific Sessions, the world’s largest scientific and medical diabetes meeting,[14] bringing together thousands of clinicians, researchers, scientists and other medical professionals from all 50 states and 111 countries for five days of sessions, oral presentations, poster presentations and exhibits.[15]

Programs and activities

Center for Information and Community Support

On average, each year more than 300,000 people contact the Association with questions and concerns, or to seek support or direction regarding diabetes and its management.[16] In 2011, the Center for Information and Community Support (previously named the National Call Center) fielded an average of 20,000 calls per month.

The Center for Information and Community Support is a free service staffed by highly trained personnel, who answer non-medical questions in English or Spanish. Call Center hours of operation are Monday – Friday, 8:30 am to 8 pm eastern time, with an automated phone system including basic information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2383).[16] In 2009, the Center began to use online chat as a new means of communication with people who have questions about diabetes.[16]

Family Link

The ADA's Family Link program provides information to families about living with diabetes and managing diabetes at school, and links them to other families who are also living with diabetes.[17] With message boards, local Family Link events,[17] tool kits for families of children newly diagnosed with diabetes, parent-to-parent mentor programs and school initiatives that advocate and train safety at school,[18] Family Link provides comprehensive support.[17] The American Diabetes Association also provides diabetes camps nationwide and is the largest provider of diabetes camps in the world.[19]

Community initiatives

The ADA offers programs and resources specially designed to target high-risk communities, including African-American, Hispanic and Latino American, Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.[20] There are also programs for the workplace, as well as events and programs run by local offices.[21]


Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes

Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes is the ADA's largest fund-raising event. Most walks take place in the fall, with events taking place in 125 markets around the United States.[22][23] It raised more than $24 million in 2013.[22] Participants who have type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes are recognized as Red Striders.[24]

Tour de Cure

Tour de Cure is a series of fund-raising cycling events held in 44 states nationwide to benefit the ADA.[25] The Tour is a ride, not a race, with routes designed for everyone from the occasional rider to the experienced cyclist. In 2009, Tour de Cure events across the nation began to recognize participants who have diabetes by awarding them with red shirts or cycling jerseys to signify that they are Red Riders.[26]

Diabetes EXPO

Diabetes EXPO is a one-day tradeshow-like exposition for people with diabetes providing an array of diabetes-related products, services and information. In 2014, 13 Diabetes Expos were planned in major markets throughout the United States.[27]

School Walk for Diabetes

School Walk for Diabetes is a K-12 educational school fundraising program that promotes healthy living, school spirit and community involvement. While raising money for the ADA, students learn about diabetes and the importance of making healthy choices including eating nutritious foods and exercising every day.[28]

BAD Ride

The Bikers Against Diabetes (BAD) Ride is a motorcycle fund-raising ride and family festival of the ADA.[29] This event brings bikers together to support the search for a cure for diabetes, with a full day of riding, entertainment, food and many other activities.

Father of the Year

Since 1999, the ADA has partnered with the National Father's Day Council to host the Father of the Year Awards dinner. Each year, in 35 cities across the country, men are recognized for the outstanding strength, commitment and love they exhibit as fathers.[30]


Advocacy plays an integral role in the Association's efforts to fulfill its mission. Diabetes Advocates around the country work to increase funding to prevent, treat and cure diabetes; to improve access to health care; and to eliminate discrimination against people with diabetes at school, work or elsewhere in their lives.[31]


The ADA builds networks, hosts workshops, and engages with its volunteers to fight discrimination based on diabetes. This includes discrimination in school, in the workplace, obtaining private and commercial driver's licenses, in public accommodation settings and correctional institutions.[32] The ADA also works to improve access of diabetes patients to insulin by lobbying for non-medical professionals to be allowed to administer insulin (after receiving basic training), which has put it at odds with the American Nurses Association.

Federal government advocacy and state legislation

The Association’s advocacy efforts span a broad range of issues that may or may not vary depending on geographic location. Advocacy initiatives include – but are not limited to – research funding, health care costs and reform, prevention initiatives and discrimination.[33]

Call to Congress

The Association’s Call to Congress is a biennial event. Diabetes advocates from across the United States congregate in Washington, D.C., to meet with their U.S. Representatives and senators and discuss how diabetes affects their lives.[34] At the same time, advocates who are not able to come to Washington, D.C., participate in a call-in campaign directed toward members of Congress. The next Call to Congress will take place from March 11 to March 13, 2015, in Washington, D.C.

Awareness campaigns

American Diabetes Month

November is American Diabetes Month, a time to bring even greater awareness and attention to the seriousness of diabetes, its deadly complications, and the importance of proper diabetes control. Throughout the month, the ADA conducts activities and encourages others across the country to get involved in efforts to raise awareness about diabetes.[35]

American Diabetes Alert Day

The American Diabetes Alert Day is an annual one-day event to inform the American public about the seriousness of diabetes. Observed each year on the fourth Tuesday of March, Alert Day is a time when the ADA encourages people to take the Diabetes Risk Test and find out if they, or their loved ones, are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.[36]


The ADA works with experts to publish a variety of informational books, magazines and journals for both medical professionals and consumers.

Consumer publications

ADA is the oldest and largest publisher of books on diabetes. Consumer book choices include nutrition, self-care, weight management and cookbooks to manage their disease. Professional health care books include clinical care, nutrition, meal planning, weight control, annual reviews and diabetes educator curricula.

ADA engages respected medical practitioners, diabetes educators, nutritionists and other health care professionals to write its books, providing the diabetes community with reliable information based on ADA's diabetes guidelines.

Medical professional publications

The ADA publishes a wide variety of books on the latest diabetes care for use by medical professionals, for example:

Clinical care medical management series & references

Clinical references


Mental health

Cardiovascular disease

Weight control/nutrition

See also


  1. 1 2 3, main website.
  2. , Diabetes statistics on main website
  3. American Diabetes Association: The Journey & the Dream: A history of the American Diabetes Association, page 23. American Diabetes Association, 1990.
  4. VA. "In My Community - Diabetes Events". Retrieved 2014-05-09.
  5. The Charities Americans Like Most And Least, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, December 13, 1996
  6. VA. "Ways to Give to the American Diabetes Association®". Retrieved 2014-05-09.
  7. , 2013 annual report
  8. Bloomberg Markets, "Charities Deceive Donors Unaware Money Goes to a Telemarketer". Retrieved 2012-09-16. Archived March 5, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. Deceptive Telemarketing Linked to Big Charities Chronicles of Philanthropy
  10. Myers, Lisa, "Donors unaware charity money goes to telemarketer", NBC Today Show, September 12, 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-16. Archived January 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. 1 2 3 VA. "Research & Practice: American Diabetes Association®". Retrieved 2014-05-09.
  12. 1 2 3
  13. "Scientific Sessions Media - DiabetesPro - American Diabetes Association". Retrieved 2014-05-09.
  14. "Scientific Sessions - DiabetesPro - American Diabetes Association". Retrieved 2014-05-09.
  15. 1 2 3 VA. "Center for Information and Community Support: American Diabetes Association®". Retrieved 2014-05-09.
  16. "Safe at School". American Diabetes Association.
  17. 1 2
  18. "San Diego Volunteer Opportunities". Retrieved 2014-05-09.
  19. "Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes by American Diabetes Association : Be a Red Strider".
  20. "Tour de Cure: American Diabetes Association".
  21. "Tour de Cure: American Diabetes Association: Red Riders".
  22. "Diabetes EXPO". American Diabetes Association.
  23. "School Walk for Diabetes".
  24. "BAD Ride: Home".
  25. "American Diabetes Association".
  26. "Advocacy". American Diabetes Association.
  27. "Discrimination". American Diabetes Association.
  28. "Federal Priorities". American Diabetes Association.
  29. "Call to Congress". American Diabetes Association.
  30. "November is American Diabetes Month". American Diabetes Association.
  31. "American Diabetes Association Alert Day". American Diabetes Association.
  32. 1 2 3 "none", Diabetes Forecast, American Diabetes Association, 67 (10), p. 4, November 2014

External links

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