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National Clinical Care Commission Takes First Steps in Setting the Diabetes Agenda

The first meeting of the National Clinical Care Commission took place at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, last week. Established by a law signed last November, the committee will examine and improve US government agencies’ diabetes efforts.

The commission’s members, revealed for the first time at the meeting, include 11 representatives from federal agencies and 12 non-government stakeholders ranging from endocrinologists to patient advocates. At the first meeting, the members consistently emphasized the need to focus on social determinants of health when addressing both prevention and treatment – this is critical and we will be eager to see what is encouraged specifically over time.  

We had the opportunity to address the commission during the meeting’s public commentary period. In our capacity as advocates for people with diabetes, we suggested three areas that commission members might focus on to help people with diabetes:

  • Seek input from people with diabetes broadly speaking (we tried to emphasize strongly that it's a diverse, very heterogeneous group!) and integrate their views at regular milestones. 
  • Carefully examine the role of outcomes beyond A1C that better capture the daily experience of living with diabetes.
  • Prioritize issues of innovative therapies and technologies, access to innovative these innovative tools and treatments, social determinants of health, and prevention of diabetes.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the commission voted to focus on five major topics: social determinants of health, education, prevention, treatment and complications, and health policy. These are all very broad and we are very excited about the ambition of this approach. The committee’s first assignment, due in 90 days, is to determine the specific activities it will conduct, a comprehensive list of people who will need to be involved, a budget, and plan to complete its work. The commission first intends to evaluate existing federal agency diabetes programs and identify gaps in diabetes prevention and control. We were very happy to hear this since we believe focus on prevention remains very low overall, particularly relative to its benefits. 

The committee’s long-term responsibility is to advise both Congress and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) on national research, treatment, advocacy, and education goals and to coordinate national diabetes care. For more background, read our post: Who Directs the National Diabetes Agenda?

Members of the public are invited to submit public comments for the committee’s consideration at any point during the Commission’s tenure by emailing OHQ@hhs.gov (subject line: National Clinical Care Commission Comments).

We are excited about what the Committee can accomplish and eager to follow its progress over the next 90 days. We’ll update diaLogue as we learn more!