Diabetes is a complex chronic disease, suggested to be caused by a combination of genetic, behavioral and environmental factors. According to the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (CDC), 8.1% of the adult population of Chicago is estimated to have diabetes, a trend that has remained relatively unchanged over the past ten years.
In light of the significance of diabetes as a public health priority and the complex nature of combating this condition, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) formed a formal partnership in 2012 with the University of Chicago Center for Diabetes Translational Research (CCDTR), focused on diabetes prevention and improving the quality and value of diabetes care the only one of its kind among Diabetes Translational Research Programs.
This robust relationship allows for sharing of knowledge and resources to achieve both health outcomes and policy evaluation, including reduction in rates of behavioral risk factors, diabetes incidence, and diabetes-related complications, and process outcomes, including creation of policy, new data sources and new partnerships. Through shared vision, the CCDTR-CDPH partnership has identified high-impact research priorities that have potential to be translated into practice. How will diabetes care improve as the Affordable Care Act transforms the health service accessibility landscape? How do school policies such as comprehensive physical education affect diabetes precursors in children? How can socio-demographic disparities in diabetes incidence be tackled through community programs?
These are some questions that speak to CDPH’s network of partners and city-wide data sources, along with CCDTR’s own hospital’s clinical data and extensive research expertise allowing for collaborative, practice-oriented and academically rigorous evaluations of these questions.
The future of health system integration is having health departments providing leadership in bringing together community based organizations, health systems, academic institutions, and the private sector to achieve shared population health goals.
Special thanks to contributors: Emily LaFlamme, Epidemiologist at CDPH and the University of Chicago CCDTR team