The Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation is donating $5.3 million to establish a diabetes prevention program called “Driving Out Diabetes: A Larry H. Miller Family Wellness Initiative.” This bold enterprise, announced November 13, 2017, will incorporate a novel, three-pronged approach to attack diabetes through prevention and outreach, clinical care, and research and training. Additionally, the program will proactively deliver screening services to populations who are most vulnerable to developing diabetes. The most common form of diabetes, type 2, can be prevented if caught early enough.
“As part of our mission to enrich lives, we are partnering with University of Utah Health on this initiative with the goal of having a lasting impact, especially on some of the most vulnerable in our state,” says Gail Miller, chair of the foundation. Miller describes her late husband Larry as a man with an iron will who found a way to accomplish everything he wanted, but stated, “when you get an illness like diabetes, you cannot will it away.” Larry, a noted Utah businessman and philanthropist, died from complications of type 2 diabetes when he was 64 years old. “Our family knows firsthand the effects of diabetes and we are committed to help educate and save others from this devastating disease,” says Miller.
More than 30 million Americans or roughly 10 percent of the total United States population suffer from diabetes. It remained the 7th leading cause of death in the United States in 2015, with 79,535 death certificates listing it as the underlying cause of death, and a total of 252,806 death certificates listing diabetes as an underlying or contributing cause of death.
“This exciting new initiative merges Gail Miller’s vision and passion for reaching people before they get diabetes—particularly the underserved—with the nationally-recognized community of diabetes researchers at U of U Health who are pioneering novel approaches to treating and preventing diabetes,” says Lorris Betz, senior vice president for health sciences and CEO of University of Utah Health.
Angie Fagerlin, chair of Population Health Sciences at U of U Health and director of the Driving Out Diabetes: A Larry H. Miller Family Wellness Initiative says, “We are incredibly grateful for this opportunity to play a crucial role in the efforts to eradicate the disease in Utah and serve as a model for the nation and the world. We deeply appreciate the strong support from The Larry H. Miller Family Foundation and, of course, Gail Miller.”