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.

An estimated 30 million people have diabetes in the U.S., and the numbers are increasing. Vulnerable and underserved populations in our communities are the most affected, with a higher prevalence of both the disease and its related complications. Too often, these individuals do not receive the help they need to effectively manage their diabetes, including addressing other factors that influence their health such as access to healthy foods and safe options for physical activity.

Together, the Bridging the Gap partners will work to:

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Build sustainable partnerships between the health care sector and other sectors to address the medical and social factors that influence health.

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Redesign health care systems, including transforming primary care, to improve the delivery of diabetes care for vulnerable and underserved populations.

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Improve health outcomes for individuals with type 2 diabetes through measures such as better glucose and lipid control.

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, chief patient officer, Merck, and chief executive officer, Merck Foundation

Through Bridging the Gap, the Merck Foundation will foster a comprehensive approach to improve diabetes care and outcomes for vulnerable and underserved populations in the U.S. With $16 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 multi-sector collaborations to reduce diabetes disparities in the U.S.


The Merck Foundation is a U.S.-based, private charitable foundation. Established in 1957 by Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, 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 $870 million to support important initiatives that address societal needs and are consistent with Merck’s overall mission of inventing for life by bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases.

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How Bridging the Gap Works