Donation from Thomas J. Beatson, Jr. Foundation will broaden access to care ambassadors for youth newly diagnosed with the disease

BOSTON – November 4, 2010 – Joslin Diabetes Center has received a $1 million gift that will broaden full access to pediatric clinical services for children with diabetes and their families. Given by the Thomas J. Beatson, Jr. Foundation, the donation will offer major support for the Joslin Pediatric, Adolescent and Young Adult Clinic’s care ambassador program.

Renamed the “Eleanor Chesterman Beatson Childlife Care Ambassador Program,” the program will give all of the clinic’s newly diagnosed children the right tools, knowledge and support to live long, healthy lives with diabetes and to transition successfully into adulthood.

The gift commemorates the mother of Thomas Beatson, and the care she provided when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes almost 68 years ago. Mr. Beatson has continued to lead an active life, logging more than 100,000 miles on bicycles in his home state of Arizona. A longtime friend of Joslin, in 2008 he donated $1 million to advance several projects in research on the disease, in which the body’s own immune system wipes out its insulin-producing cells.

"Tom Beatson is a wonderful role model for how one lives successfully with type 1 diabetes," said John Brooks, Chairman of the Joslin Board of Trustees. "We greatly appreciate Tom's extraordinary generosity to our mission, which is to provide the best care for our diabetic patients today, as we strive to achieve a world where diabetes is cured."

“Children and teens living with diabetes along with their families need support and access to good care today so that they can benefit from the advances that the future will bring,” said Lori Laffel, M.D., M.P.H., chief of Joslin’s Pediatric, Adolescent and Young Adult Clinic. “Our pediatric program aims to help families manage diabetes within their unique family lifestyles in order to maintain the child’s normal growth and development, to prevent diabetes complications and to protect the long-term health of these youth.”

“Mr. Beatson understands the importance of the family management of diabetes and the need for Joslin’s multi-disciplinary support to take advantage of treatment advances,” Dr. Laffel emphasized.

The cornerstone of the care ambassador program is a group of specially trained pediatric case managers who act as liaisons between families and their medical team. The program targets newly diagnosed children, adolescents, young adults and their families; patients who are new to Joslin’s care; and patients experiencing challenges with their diabetes management.  

Research led by Dr. Laffel reported that youngsters who received care ambassador support services enjoyed healthier outcomes than those who received standard care, including 40% fewer trips to emergency rooms and half the number of severe low blood glucose episodes. Joslin is the only diabetes center to successfully incorporate a care ambassador component into the clinical care model.