Table of Contents


American Diabetes Association (ADA) PO Box 363 Mount Morris, IL 61054-0363 USA Toll-Free: (800) 342-2383 or 1-800-DIABETES E-mail: askada Website:


Founded in 1940 The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading 501(C)3 nonprofit health organization. It boasts more than 280,000 Members and has a network of more than one million volunteers. The ADA serves 800 Local Groups within 53 State Groups.


The mission of the ADA is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.

To fulfill their mission, the ADA promotes research, information and advocates for finding a prevention and cure for diabetes. The ADA uses different techniques to educate people at risk of diabetes and with diabetes so they can improve their quality of life. They also disseminate information to the health care professionals, family and care givers of those with or at risk of diabetes. The ADA advocates for scientific research for finding a cure and prevention of the different types of diabetes. They are also one of the largest advocates for the rights of diabetics.

ADA Members

Their members include but are not limited to Physicians, nurses, dietitians, physical/occupational therapists, other health professionals, and laypersons affected by diabetes mellitus. The ADA offers memberships to both consumers and health professionals who pay annual Membership dues.

Consumer Membership

The consumer membership is for people with diabetes, their families and caregivers. Consumer members receive monthly issues of Diabetes Forecast(r) magazine, discounts on ADA books and cookbooks, and access to a network of diabetes support and informational resources. Consumer membership dues are $28 annually.

Professional Membership

Professional membership provides health professionals, research scientists, and diabetes educators with recent information in diabetes research and treatment options. As members they receive, but not limited to, access to the ADA journal that is most relevant to their practice, registration discounts for ADA Scientific Sessions and for medical journals and books. Professional memberships can range from $50-350.00 annually.


The ADA supports a variety of tools to educate its members and the public.

Their National Call Center provides diabetes information and referral for callers nationwide through their toll-free 800 number. The Call Center responds to approximately 350,000 inquiries each year.

The ADA also supports a website that is available for anyone with Internet access and links them to pertinent diabetes and diabetes prevention information, advocacy, membership information and community and local events.

ADA Research

Founded in October 1994, the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation (ADARF) was created to raise money to directly fund diabetes research. This unique program is intended to complement the governments National Institutes of Health (NIH) diabetes research program through supporting new investigators and innovative research ideas. Through donations, the ADA has been able to provide nearly $40 million towards diabetes research in 2005.

Funds provided by ADARF support peer-reviewed basic and clinical diabetes research proposed to prevent, treat, and/or cure diabetes. Past research projects supported by the ADARF varied from the microcellular research to exploring education and psychological issues related to diabetes.

All ADARF grants become part of the Diabetes Research database that is accessible to anyone with access to the ADA website. This database provides brief descriptions of each funded project, and gives brief summaries on the value the study findings may have for the field of diabetes research. Database contents are updated at least every six months.

Other methods ADA uses to distribute research findings are through Access: Diabetes Research, and the Forefront Research Magazine. Both present summaries of diabetes research.

Education Program Recognition

To ensure quality education for people with diabetes, the ADA endorses the National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Education Programs. The Standards are designed to endorse any health care setting offering diabetes education, from physicians’ offices and HMOs to clinics and hospitals. All applicants must meet the National Standards before they are awarded the endorsement from the ADA.

The National Diabetes Advisory Board (NDAB) developed the National Standards for Diabetes Patient Education Programs. The ADA then endorsed the Standards in 1983 while participating in the nationwide pilot testing of the Standards and review criteria in 1984. The first edition of the Standards was published in Diabetes Care in 1984. In 1986 an application and review process was established through the ADA to determine whether an education program met the Standards. Then in 1987, the first programs to meet the Standards were recognized by the ADA.

The Standards are reviewed and revised every five-year cycle. In 1995 and in 2000, a task force of representatives from the diabetes community completed a review of the Standards. The representatives are compiled from the American Association of Diabetes Educators, American Diabetes Association, American Dietetic Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Veterans Affairs, Diabetes Research and Training Centers, Indian Health Service, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators.

The revised Standards are now called the National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Education and are endorsed by all organizations involved in its development. When changes occur, the Education Program Recognition Committee of the ADA revises the application for Recognition, currently the 6th edition, to reflect the revised Standards.

Professional Services

The Association provides educational and informative materials and programs for health professionals thru various media. Annually they sponsor a scientific sessions diabetes conference, in addition to other medical and scientific programs. The ADA publishes and updates their medical care guidelines and recommendations for health professionals. They also support special interest groups for professionals.


The ADA is the world’s foremost publisher in the field of diabetes literature, including Diabetes Forecast, a monthly consumer magazine, and a range of publications and journals for research and health care professionals, such as Diabetes, Diabetes Care, Diabetes Spectrum, Clinical Diabetes, and access to a comprehensive library of medical management guides.

Fund Raising Activities

  • America’s Walk for Diabetes(r),
  • Tour De Cure(r) a cycling event that takes place in over 70 cities nationwide,
  • and School Walk for Diabetes(r) that is an educational, school based program that promotes community service, school spirit and healthy living to students.
  • Another unique fund-raising campaign, Kiss-APig(r), is a tribute to the pig for aiding in discovering the role of insulin for people with diabetes. It ends with the participant who raises the most money kissing the Kiss-A-Pig pig.

Public Awareness

One of the goals of the ADA is to make the public aware of diabetes and the serious health effects it may have on a person. Throughout the year the ADA sponsors events to educate the public about diabetes and diabetes prevention. The National public awareness campaigns are:

American Diabetes Month is the Association’s annual, month-long public awareness activity held each November. The goal is to raise awareness about serious and often preventable diabetes complications. A variety of events and educational activities are included in this awareness effort.

The American Diabetes Alert is conducted annually on the fourth Tuesday in March to raise awareness about the seriousness of pre-diabetes and diabetes and its risk factors. The centerpiece of the Alert is the diabetes risk test, which is widely distributed and promoted through community activities and national and local media.

Program Services

The ethnic groups in the United States with the highest risk of developing type 2 diabetes are African Americans, Mexican Americans, and Pima Indians as well as Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The ADA reaches out to these communities through community campaigns.

The Diabetes Assistance and Resources Program (DAR)

DAR, which means, “to give” in Spanish, provides valuable information in English and Spanish to the Latino/Hispanic community. The goal of the DAR program is to increase awareness about the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of prevention and control.

Diabetes Sunday and Get Up and Move

The African American Program’s goal is to increase awareness about the seriousness of diabetes in the community and importance of early diagnosis and treatment. The program includes fun and informative church and community-based activities.

Awakening the Spirit: Pathways to Diabetes Prevention and Control

Aimed at the Native American community, including American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. The program stresses the importance of choosing a healthy lifestyle for oneself and the generations that will follow.

Youth Programs

The ADA is the largest provider of camps for children with diabetes in the world. Each year, more than 10,000 children benefit from camping programs provided through ADA funding.

They have developed a youth zone program that provides a web site especially for kids. It offers games, tips, links, and information to help kids manage their diabetes.

For the teen, the ADA provides information and resources directed to teens. It gives information on how diabetes may impact their lifestyle. It gives resources and tools to help the teen understand diabetes and how it impacts the choices they make and their health.


Realizing a need for equality for those with diabetes, the ?ADA formed the Government Affairs & Advocacy program to help fulfill their mission of improving the lives of all those affected with diabetes. The main goals of this program are to:

  • Improve access to quality medical care for people with diabetes.
  • Eliminate discrimination against people because of their diabetes.
  • Ensure the federal government is adequately funding diabetes research and programs.

Megan C.M. Porter, RD, LD