ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Phil Southerland, global diabetes advocate and founder of the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, is launching the Team Type 1 Foundation today, on World Diabetes Day. Pursuing a mission of education, empowerment and global access to medicine for everyone affected by diabetes, the Foundation will address disparities in diabetes care around the world through collaborative strategies that engage governments, health organizations, healthcare providers, diabetes educators and people with diabetes.
The Foundation’s first U.S. initiative is a scholarship program for collegiate athletes with type 1 diabetes who compete in an NCAA sport. In 2014, the program will award up to seven scholarships of $5,000 each to help student athletes and their families offset the cost of diabetes care, which can average an additional $300-$500 per month. Scholarship recipients will also be integrated into the Foundation’s educational platform as future diabetes ambassadors.
“The Team Type 1 Foundation exists because everyone with diabetes deserves the right to lead a healthy and productive life,” said Southerland. “In developing countries, that means changing healthcare policy to ensure everyone has access to the medicine and tools they need to survive and thrive. In the U.S. it means providing empowerment and inspiration to people with diabetes while also supporting student athletes who absorb the added financial burden of managing diabetes while going through college.”
Southerland is the Foundation’s President and Founder, while Dr. Biljana Southerland will serve as Program Director of Medical and Governmental Affairs. Dr. Southerland is a former advisor to the Macedonian Ministry of Health and the architect of Macedonia’s National Diabetes Program, one of the most progressive diabetes care policies in the world.
“More than 371 million people worldwide have diabetes and many are needlessly suffering from preventable complications or even death, simply because they do not have access to the medication or tools necessary to manage their condition,” said Dr. Southerland. “The Team Type 1 Foundation is dedicated to changing these statistics.”
Based in part on the success of the Macedonian program -- which fully covers the cost of insulin and glucose testing supplies for everyone in the country living with diabetes -- the Team Type 1 Foundation will largely focus on helping developing countries around the world scale the Macedonian model to establish sustainable diabetes care policy.
Starting in Rwanda, a country where seven out of eight people with diabetes die before they are even diagnosed, the Foundation is working with government and healthcare officials to build a long-term solution. This year, the Foundation is donating 1 million test strips and 900 blood glucose monitors, effectively providing a one-year supply for the entire Rwandan population of individuals with type 1 diabetes.
For more information on the Team Type 1 Foundation scholarship guidelines and applications, go to www.teamtype1.org.