Cities Changing Diabetes announces five new programs to fight diabetes and obesity in Philadelphia

January 13, 2021

January 13, 2021

Five innovative community-based programs have been selected to receive preliminary funding to help combat diabetes and obesity in Philadelphia through Cities Changing Diabetes. Cities Changing Diabetes is a global program sponsored by Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company, that brings together the private and public sectors to find new ways to change the trajectory of diabetes, including reducing obesity which is considered the biggest modifiable risk factor of diabetes, in their neighborhoods and communities. The winning programs were selected by a coalition of local public health, healthcare, faith, academic and community leaders.

Each initiative represents an innovation in disease prevention, care or management, and is supported by a coalition of Philadelphia-based non-profit and health care organizations. Together these programs create a set of powerful and diverse projects that will help address health inequities and bend the diabetes and obesity curve in Philadelphia. Each of the five selected programs will receive $20,000 in preliminary funding from Novo Nordisk and will begin rolling out later this year.

“These five initiatives that came out of Cities Changing Diabetes – Philadelphia represent a collaborative, city-wide effort to improve health and health care in our city. As our city and our country grapple with other pressing public health concerns with COVID-19, it’s inspiring to see our community coming together to create new ways to address chronic disease in their own neighborhoods,” said Wendy Nickel, MPH, President, Health Care Improvement Foundation of Philadelphia, convening partner of Cities Changing Diabetes –Philadelphia and member organization on the program’s Advisory Board. “Together, we will bend the curve of diabetes and obesity in our city.”

Following is a brief overview of the new initiatives:

Activate! Advocates for Diabetes Prevention
Developed by the Health Promotion Council (HPC) and Public Health Management Corporation
This initiative will train youth ages 13 to 18 to become community advocates for policy and environmental change solutions to prevent obesity, diabetes, and pre-diabetes, through partnerships and new media platforms.

City of Hope: Latinos Preventing Diabetes
Developed by Esperanza and Jefferson Health System / Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s Center for Urban Health / Thomas Jefferson University College of Population Health & College of Nursing 
This inter-generational Latinx diabetes prevention program will engage youth leaders and Community Health Workers to expand community health education in the Hunting Park neighborhood in North Philadelphia.

Developing a Peer & Community Approach for Managing Diabetes in Disability
Developed by Temple University’s College of Public Health
This community-based initiative will design a peer-based approach to connect individuals from disability communities experiencing Spinal Cord Injury, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and Serious Mental Illness to sustainable and accessible resources necessary to manage their diabetes and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Eat to Live
Developed by Congreso de Latinos Unidos, Inc., American Heart Association, Health Promotion Council, Public Health Management Corporation, and Sanctuary Farm.
This initiative is an expansion of the pilot program Eat to Live and will provide more underserved populations with personalized non-medical interventions, including peer support, monthly produce baskets, nutrition education, and cooking demonstrations to support healthier eating and address high rates of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.

Prison Pre-Release Healthy Initiative
Developed by The Food Trust, City of Philadelphia Reentry Coalition, Thomas Jefferson University College of Nursing, Action Wellness Health Services, Temple University College of Public Health Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Philadelphia Department of Prisons and Community-based Reentry/Recovery houses (10-15 houses)
This initiative is a nutrition education/cooking series to help address obesity, diabetes and other chronic health conditions in a recently incarcerated population. The 6-week series is designed for inmates and returning citizens to help them make healthier food choices in prison and learn to shop and prepare healthy meals upon returning home.

“In 2020, together we faced a global pandemic and challenges to our economy.  2020 also cast a light on racial and social injustices facing the U.S.  These dynamics have forced us to take a closer look at how we, as a society, manage chronic diseases and specifically what more needs to be done to address health inequities in communities across the country,” said Doug Langa, executive vice president, North America Operations and President of Novo Nordisk Inc. “We know that it takes more than medicine for meaningful, sustainable change to occur. Through collaborations like Cities Changing Diabetes can we address some of the unique factors that make neighborhoods in highly affected areas of our country vulnerable to chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity.”

The initiatives are grounded in Cities Changing Diabetes public health research. A year-long assessment identified certain neighborhood characteristics that were strongly associated with diabetes in urban settings and that have implications for neighborhood residents’ engagement in diabetes prevention and management activities. The project teams can apply that knowledge to create programs tailored to Philadelphia neighborhoods’ and communities’ unique challenges to help people live healthier lives.

The Philadelphia neighborhood assessment was conducted by the Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) and UTHealth School of Public Health, the latter of which is the lead research partner for Cities Changing Diabetes in the US. The assessment was sponsored by Novo Nordisk.

To learn more about the new initiatives and the ideation and selection process, visit

Diabetes in Philadelphia 
Among the top 10 cities in US population, Philadelphia ranks fourth in diabetes prevalence.1,2 In Philadelphia, nearly 1 million adults are estimated to have diabetes by 2030.3

About Urban Diabetes and Cities Changing Diabetes 
Cities are on the front line for diabetes. Two-thirds of people with diabetes globally live in cities. And, the highest growth in diabetes is expected to happen in urban settings.4

Cities Changing Diabetes, a global program sponsored by Novo Nordisk, is a private/public partnership that helps communities understand their unique diabetes challenges, identify areas and populations at greatest risk, and collaboratively design and implement new diabetes prevention, care and management initiatives in their city. It brings together medical and public health institutions, communities of faith, employers, insurers, and non-profit organizations. The program launched in the US in Houston in 2014 and in Philadelphia in 2019. Visit, and follow #UrbanDiabetes.

About Novo Nordisk 
Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company that’s been making innovative medicines to help people with diabetes lead longer, healthier lives for 95 years. This heritage has given us experience and capabilities that also enable us to help people defeat other serious diseases including obesity, hemophilia and growth disorders. We remain steadfast in our conviction that the formula for lasting success is to stay focused, think long-term and do business in a financially, socially and environmentally responsible way. With U.S. headquarters in New Jersey and production and research facilities in six states, Novo Nordisk employs nearly 5,000 people throughout the country. For more information, visit novonordisk.usFacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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