Bridging the Gap: Reducing Disparities in Diabetes Care

This new initiative will bring together the health care sector and other sectors to support innovative approaches to diabetes treatment and management.

The Merck Foundation is seeking letters of intent for its new initiative, Bridging the Gap: Reducing Disparities in Diabetes Care, which aims to improve diabetes care and promote health equity for vulnerable and underserved populations affected by diabetes in the U.S.

More than 29 million people have diabetes in the U.S. But it’s in the vulnerable and underserved populations in our communities where we find a higher prevalence of both the disease and its related complications. Yet many diabetes patients do not receive the help they need in managing their health, including addressing other factors that affect their health such as access to nutritious foods and options for physical activity.

Bridging the Gap will work to:

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Build sustainable partnerships between the health care sector and other sectors to address factors inside and outside the health care system that influence diabetes outcomes.

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Transform primary care to improve diabetes care delivery for vulnerable and underserved populations.

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Improve health outcomes for individuals with type 2 diabetes, such as improved glucose and lipid control.

With $10 million in funding from the Foundation over five years, Bridging the Gap will support multifaceted diabetes programs in selected communities around the country. Through a comprehensive cross-site evaluation, the Foundation will also assess the impact of this initiative, with a goal of promoting best practices in primary care transformation and advancing intersectoral collaborations to reduce diabetes disparities.

There is a higher prevalence of diabetes in underserved communities, where many patients do not receive the help they need to effectively manage their health. Through Bridging the Gap, we will work with our partners to promote sustainable improvements in diabetes care for those who need it the most.

– Dr. Julie Gerberding, executive vice president, Strategic Communications, Global Public Policy and Population Health, Merck and chief executive officer, Merck Foundation


The Foundation is seeking letters of intent from eligible nonprofit organizations in the U.S. committed to improving health care and addressing the needs of vulnerable and underserved populations. Eligible organizations must be designated as a qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the U.S. and may include public or private institutions, such as community health centers, hospitals, clinics, integrated health systems, and other healthcare organizations; and community-based and nongovernmental organizations.

Organizations will be expected to implement interventions that:

  • Build on organizations’ existing programs and capabilities.
  • Involve meaningful intersectoral collaborations to address multiple factors that influence diabetes outcomes.
  • Use evidence-based innovation to design interventions.
  • Involve multiple levels of the health care system, such as the patient, family/support system, health care team and organization levels.
  • Promote sustainable improvements in the delivery of diabetes care.

Eligible organizations are invited to submit a letter of intent by January 24, 2017. Selected applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal by April 17, 2017.


The Merck Foundation is a U.S.-based, private charitable foundation. Established in 1957 by Merck, a global health care leader, the Foundation is funded entirely by the company and is Merck’s chief source of funding support to qualified non-profit charitable organizations. Since its inception, the Merck Foundation has contributed more than $844 million to support important initiatives that address societal needs and are consistent with Merck’s overall mission to help the world be well. For more information, visit