Press Release: Helmsley Charitable Trust Awards $12 Million Grant to Partners In Health

Author: Amy McLaughlin
December 20, 2017

Funding will support an innovative strategy to expand type 1 diabetes care in the most constrained health systems

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has awarded Partners In Health (PIH) a $12 million grant over three years, from 2018-20, to help PIH and collaborators bring type 1 diabetes care to children in low-income countries. The funding will support an innovative strategy that includes training non-physician providers to deliver lifesaving outpatient services at first-level hospitals. These services previously were available only at distant referral facilities. The services include care for type 1 diabetes and interventions for other severe, chronic, non-communicable diseases (NCDs)—such as advanced rheumatic heart disease and sickle-cell disease—that affect the poorest children and young adults.

Partners In Health 
Dr. Gene Bukhman (center) and Nurse Gedeon Ngoga (left) observe an ultrasound of a young child at Butaro District Hospital in Northern Rwanda

The grant will support expansion of this integrated strategy in Haiti, Liberia, Malawi and Rwanda. The grant also will support evaluation of the strategy by a coordinated team at PIH, Harvard Medical School, and Brigham & Women’s Hospital. Finally, the grant will build on the work of The Lancet Commission on Reframing NCDs and Injuries for the Poorest Billion to support the monitoring of type 1 diabetes care for the poor in a larger group of low- and lower-middle-income countries. The funding will help local institutions sustain care and services at a high level of quality and equity. The Helmsley Charitable Trust has been supporting PIH’s NCD work in Haiti and Rwanda since 2014.

“This innovative partnership between the Helmsley Charitable Trust and Partners In Health is an amazing opportunity to provide quality care as close as possible to patients’ homes, and prevent needless suffering and death from type 1 diabetes and other severe NCDs among some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people,” said Dr. Gene Bukhman, director of the NCD Synergies program at Partners In Health and the Program in Global NCDs and Social Change at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Gary Gottlieb, Partners In Health CEO, said: “This wonderful investment and partnership will leverage the work that PIH has been doing for nearly 30 years to improve and save the lives of countless children and adults with type 1 diabetes and other NCDs.”

“Too often, non-communicable diseases like type 1 diabetes go untreated,” said Gina Agiostratidou, Director of Helmsley’s Type 1 Diabetes Program. “By integrating T1D care into the public health infrastructure at various levels of low- and middle-income countries’ health systems, we believe we can expand access to NCD care for some of the world’s most high-need populations.”

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About Partners In Health

Partners In Health is an international medical organization that helps build and sustain public health systems in poor and underserved communities around the world. Launched in Haiti in 1987, PIH today reaches 7 million people around the world and employs 18,000 people, including 15,000 local community health workers. PIH uses a community-based approach to care that has resulted in some of the highest cure rates and lowest treatment default rates ever recorded for TB and HIV. Learn more about our work at www.pih.org. Support our efforts at https://donate.pih.org/give-today. Follow Partners In Health on social media: Twitter @PIH; Facebook /partnersinhealth; Instagram @partnersinhealth. Together we save lives and spread hope in the poorest places on Earth.

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective organizations in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $2 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. For more information, visit www.helmsleytrust.org.