Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona’s Mobilize AZ initiative has awarded grants to seven local community organizations, providing funding to help combat diabetes and address social determinants of health.

The grants will support projects that improve health outcomes for patients living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, prediabetes or gestational diabetes, or which impact systems that contribute to improving diabetes outcomes, including health disparities.

“The local organizations receiving the grant funds are a crucial part of our community, doing incredible work to help the more than 600,000 Arizonans living with diabetes,” said Pam Kehaly, president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. 

“The grants will help them improve health outcomes for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable populations by expanding resources for diabetes prevention and management, while addressing unmet social needs.”

The recipients are: 

• Area Agency on Aging (Maricopa County): Through a partnership with Dignity Health East Valley, AAA will expand capacity to deliver the evidence-based Diabetes Empowerment Education Program (DEEP) by training new health educators. Educators will work with people ages 50 and older living with diabetes to address condition management and unmet social needs that impact health.

• Asian Pacific Community in Action (Phoenix): APCA will work to improve health literacy and diabetes management among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by using a Community Health Worker model. A Community Health Worker will provide language-appropriate education and culturally competent services that lead to better diagnosis and comprehensive diabetes care for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

• Chicanos Por La Causa (Phoenix): CPLC will engage 30 patients who have a serious mental illness, prediabetes, and are at risk for obesity in an evidence-based diabetes prevention program at its Centro Esperanza Clinic. The organization will also address unmet social determinants of health and provide on-site diabetes tests to remove access to care barriers.

• Mariposa Community Health Center (four locations in Nogales, Rio Rico, Tubac and Patagonia): Through the Comer Bien (Eat Well) initiative, Mariposa will improve healthy eating and access to healthy foods to improve blood sugar control for patients with uncontrolled diabetes. The health center will foster innovative partnerships with local food banks and markets and provide health education taught by a community health worker.

• MHC Healthcare (23 locations in Marana and Tucson): MHC will improve diabetes health outcomes with the purchase of a HgA1c machine to engage and educate patients about their blood glucose results. Point-of-care testing and education will address barriers to accessing care, improve understanding of the diabetes health condition, and support diabetes management.

• Mission of Mercy (Phoenix and Avondale): The organization will launch and expand multifaceted diabetes screening and management services at its Avondale clinic where 52% of patients have diabetes. The program will also provide access to fresh produce from an on-site farmers market, in partnership with Gregory’s Market.

• St. Vincent de Paul (Phoenix): The nonprofit will improve clinical metrics, health literacy and health outcomes for high-risk community members with diabetes by increasing access to evidence-based, culturally sensitive diabetes education and individualized counseling.

Since 2018, BCBSAZ has awarded more than $1 million in grants to organizations dedicated to addressing diabetes.