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Improving Health Equity | Lilly Expands Support of Diabetes Impact Project in Indy

September 16, 2021    Posted by: Eli Lilly and Company


Where you live shouldn’t determine how long you live.

Yet in Lilly’s Indianapolis hometown, new data shows a widening gap in life expectancy between some of the city’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods and their neighbors a short drive away – a difference of nearly 17 years, according to a recent report from the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health.

These urban communities of color also have a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes, contributing to shorter lifespans and disproportionate impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help address these health inequities, Lilly has committed an additional $5 million to the Diabetes Impact Project (DIP-IN), launched in 2018 to drive long-term improvements in diabetes diagnosis, care and overall lifespan in three Indianapolis neighborhoods where residents are predominantly people of color. The program employs a holistic approach to diabetes prevention and control that includes residents, and neighborhood and clinic-based community health workers.

This sustained funding will allow the communities to expand their work to further reduce barriers to care, expand access to healthy food, identify more physical activity and access opportunities, and leverage stress management resources.

According to the report, life expectancy in the Diabetes Impact Project communities in 2018 was among the lowest in the metro area, and includes the zip code with the lowest life expectancy at birth -- 68 years, on average. Their neighbors, however, just twenty miles north, can expect to live to nearly age 85.

Between 17 percent and 20 percent of residents in these three urban neighborhoods have diabetes, compared to 15 percent for the state of Indiana and 10.5 percent nationally.

“Health inequities do not occur overnight and will take sustained investment to eliminate,” said Lisa Staten, principal investigator of DIP-IN and associate professor at Fairbanks.

Community health workers at Eskenazi Health Center are working closely with DIP-IN community residents living with diabetes to reduce the barriers to controlling the disease. They interact with residents to build awareness of risk factors, encourage diabetes screening, manage their diabetes, and foster an environment that supports greater health and wellbeing, as well as improved access to care for people living with the disease.

Residents lead the initiative to address the social determinants of health, or the conditions where people live, learn, work and play, that affect a wide range of health and quality of life outcomes. 

“This expansion of the DIP-IN grant program does more than provide additional services to our community,” said Patrice Duckett-Brown, executive director of Fay Biccard Glick Crooked Creek Neighborhood Center and a resident on one of the three local steering committees for DIP-IN. “This grant expansion focuses on prevention from an equity lens. The new grant provides our community with additional support but an abundance of leverage to change how we view our own health and address long-term barriers that narrate health disparities within our community.”

DIP-IN is an initiative involving the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Eskenazi Health, Marion County Public Health Department, and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) as well as many community organizations.

More information on this topic:

·      Lilly Global Health: Diabetes Impact Project in Indianapolis | Eli Lilly and Company

·      Learn more about Social determinants of health