Merck Foundation Launches Five-Year Initiative to Improve Diabetes Care for Vulnerable and Underserved U.S. Communities


October 19, 2017 8:00 am ET

The Merck Foundation (the Foundation) has launched a five-year
the Gap: Reducing Disparities in Diabetes Care

the Gap)
to help improve diabetes care and health outcomes for
vulnerable and underserved populations in the United States.

With $16 million in funding from the Foundation over five years, Bridging
the Gap
aims to foster comprehensive approaches that bring together
high-quality medical care with services and resources drawn from outside
of the health care system to address the many factors that influence
diabetes outcomes, such as access to healthy foods and safe places for
physical activity.

The Foundation has selected the following organizations as Bridging
the Gap
program grantees.

University of Chicago
(Chicago) will serve as the National Program
Office for Bridging the Gap. In this capacity, it will support
the program grantees’ efforts and provide leadership in building a
national public-private partnership to help reduce disparities in
diabetes care.

“We need to look beyond the usual health care solutions to address the
growing burden of diabetes, especially among vulnerable populations in
the United States,” says Julie L. Gerberding, chief patient officer,
Merck and chief executive officer, Merck Foundation. “Through Bridging
the Gap
, we are pleased to bring together these eight diverse
organizations, and look forward to leveraging their expertise to
help more people effectively manage their diabetes and improve their
overall health.”

Bridging the Gap program grantees will implement multifaceted,
evidence-based programs to:

  • Build sustainable partnerships between the health care sector and
    other sectors to address the medical and social and environmental
    factors that influence health
  • Redesign health care systems, particularly primary care, to improve
    the delivery of diabetes care for vulnerable and underserved
  • Improve health outcomes for individuals with type 2 diabetes through
    measures such as better blood sugar and lipid control

The Foundation will support a comprehensive evaluation to assess the
impact of Bridging the Gap. A key goal will be to identify and
promote best practices in primary care transformation and innovative
multi-sectoral strategies that help vulnerable and underserved
communities gain access to high-quality diabetes care.

Improving Access to Care

Merck is committed to discovering smart, sustainable ways to expand
global access to health care and, through the Merck Foundation, supports
innovative partnerships and approaches to improve the health of
vulnerable and underserved populations. The new Bridging the Gap initiative
follows other recent investments by the Foundation to reduce health
disparities and improve access to high-quality health care, such as the
$15 million, five-year
to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care

announced earlier this

About the Merck Foundation

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. For more information, visit

Doris Li, 908-740-1903
Jeanine Clemente, 908-740-6268

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