August 4, 2020 3:45 a.m.

Mercy Foundation has been awarded a grant of nearly $392,000 for a youth diabetes initiative.

A release said the funds are coming over a three-year period, from CommonSpirit Health, which is the parent organization of CHI Mercy Health.

The release said through a partnership with Douglas Education Service District, Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, Evergreen Family Medicine, Mercy Foundation and Mercy Medical Center, a youth diabetes initiative was originally started in 2018 to support Douglas ESD nurses who were struggling to find resources for a growing number of youth in the county who have type 1 diabetes.

That initiative resulted in the formation of Beyond the Diagnosis- Living with T1D, a resource group for both youth and their families to offer help in managing T1D. In 2018, thirty local children in public school had been identified with T1D. That number has since climbed to over 45. The release said it is unclear how many more there are that have not yet been identified, especially with the onset of COVID-19.

The additional funding will be used by Mercy Foundation to expand services, continue to do outreach, monthly virtual educational opportunities and eventual peer to peer mentoring for youth and their families once the COVID-19 pandemic is under control.

Mercy Foundation President Lisa Platt said the grant funding and the program “…align with our investment in prevention and education to improve overall health and wellness”. She said having virtual access to a pediatric endocrinologist will also reduce the need for local families to travel out of town for needed care.

Mercy CEO Kelly Morgan said “Helping community members manage chronic illness is a priority in Mercy’s Community Health Investment Plan”, He said that increasing the knowledge and skills about how to manage diabetes ultimately empowers people to “…become active partners in their own health”.

Contact Mercy Foundation for more information about the youth diabetes initiative.