Long-Standing Type 1 Diabetes Research Program Set to Expire Sept. 30 Without Action

071123 JDFR JuJu Phillips 2
VIDEO CLIP:  Senator Hyde-Smith Examines Challenges for Rural Mississippians with Diabetes.
VIDEO:  Senator Hyde-Smith Questions Witness on Special Diabetes Program Reauthorization.
PHOTO:  Senator Hyde-Smith Meets JuJu Phillips, Mississippi’s Delegate to JDRF Children’s Congress.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today focused on the challenges and needs of rural Mississippians with diabetes during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the Special Diabetes Program, a long-established National Institutes of Health (NIH) research initiative.

The Special Diabetes Program, which will expire at the end of this fiscal year without reauthorization, is credited with delivering new resources and research breakthroughs for those with Type 1 diabetes since 1998.  The hearing coincided with the 2023 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Children’s Congress at which four-year-old JuJu Phillips represented Mississippi.

At the hearing, Hyde-Smith and Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P., director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, discussed current challenges and future needs for diabetes research and treatment in Mississippi as a rural state.

“So many times, we have so many patients that go undiagnosed and their chronic disease complications just skyrocket.  But specialists are few and far between and the patients must travel long distances for their appointments,” Hyde-Smith said.  “We have seen the positive impacts of the Special Diabetes Program and research at the NIH.  However, rural communities seem to face such a greater challenge.  I have family members that suffer from diabetes.  I mean everyone in Mississippi is very aware of this because we do have one of the highest rates.”

Rodgers testified that the NIH is working with the Centers for Disease Control to track and understand Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes cases on a statewide and county level in Mississippi, including troubling cases of children as young as 10 years old developing aggressive Type 2 diabetes.  He also discussed the need to reauthorize the Special Diabetes Program to ensure continued advances in diabetes treatments and research for cures.

Hyde-Smith acknowledged the need for ongoing progress in order to reach more children who live with Type 1 diabetes.

“I do have one young man, 17-year-old from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, who has the CGM pump and it has changed his life.  I just want that opportunity for every child that suffers from this.  I want them to have every opportunity that we can possibly provide.  So, thank you for doing the research.  Thank you for your diligence,” Hyde-Smith told Rodgers.

In May, Hyde-Smith cosponsored the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act of 2023, which would authorize Medicare payments for pharmacists who offer health care services such as health and wellness screenings, immunizations, and diabetes management in communities lacking easy access to doctors.