Asking Congress to Get “On It” for Diabetes

By Topher Brooke, Vice President, U.S. Diabetes, AstraZeneca

At AstraZeneca, we believe that real progress in improving type 2 diabetes outcomes starts with supporting patients in multiple ways, such as improving access to our medicines, providing educational programs and resources, and advocating on the patient’s behalf, to name a few. In March, we launched the ON IT Movement in partnership with Dr. Phil McGraw to raise awareness about type 2 diabetes through Dr. Phil’s personal experience, to spark further dialogue about what it’s like to live with the condition, and to motivate other patients to take action towards leading a healthier life.

Now, I’m excited that we’re taking the ON IT Movement a step further to advance the national conversation by addressing Congress on Capitol Hill, where we’ll highlight the challenges that people with type 2 diabetes face every day. 

Nearly 28 million Americans are living with type 2 diabetes today, with another 86 million at risk of developing it. This condition costs our society over $245 billion annually. In order for change to occur, intervention must take place at multiple levels – from prevention, education and treatment to public health and policy-making – to take early action against type 2 diabetes. 

On May 11, AstraZeneca and Dr. Phil will join policymakers and advocates on Capitol Hill to ask Congress for more support of those living with and at risk for developing diabetes and call attention to the patient experience. This unique opportunity allows us to meet with members of Congress and the Senate to discuss the goals of the ON IT Movement and to advocate for their constituents whose lives are impacted by diabetes.

The highlight of the day will be the “Get ON IT for Diabetes” bicameral congressional briefing where we will discuss the growing impact of type 2 diabetes in the United States. The Congressional Diabetes Caucus co-chairs, Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY), will provide opening remarks followed by a panel discussion. In addition to Dr. Phil, the panelists will include George Grunberger, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.E., president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), Robert E. Ratner, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.E.; Chief Scientific and Medical Officer, American Diabetes Association (ADA), and Kelly Close, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of diaTribe; President and Founder, Close Concerns. Other prominent members of the type 2 diabetes community will join us to help strengthen and amplify our message to Congress, including the American Association of Diabetes Educators, Diabetes Hands Foundation, Endocrine Society and Taking Control of Your Diabetes.

So how can you help Congress get “ON IT” for type 2 diabetes and make your voice heard?

  • Visit the diabetes caucus website to learn about diabetes-related legislation that impacts Americans who live with the disease and the millions who are at risk of developing it.
  • Tell Congress the time is now to get ON IT and address the diabetes epidemic. We ask you to call or email your legislators and ask that they prioritize diabetes issues and increase support for those living with the disease. Or, you can reach out to your member of Congress via Twitter using #OnItMovement.

I also encourage you to visit to learn more about Dr. Phil and his 6 Rules for creating and sticking to a plan. While we push for progress in how type 2 diabetes is addressed and managed at a national level, it’s important to remember that even the smallest steps in the right direction can lead to significant change.

Follow @AstraZenecaUS and #OnItMovement on Twitter for updates leading up to and during our day on Capitol Hill.