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Rep. Gus Bilirakis Recognized as Diabetes Champion

WASHINGTON, DC – Recognizing the dedication of those working to improve the well-being of all Americans affected by diabetes, the Diabetes Leadership Council presented the Diabetes Champion Award to Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA), vice chair of the Diabetes Congressional Caucus, Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), chair of the Diabetes Congressional Caucus, and Nimit Jindal, PharmD, Senior Health Policy Advisor to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

The Diabetes Leadership Council, an organization dedicated to reducing barriers to accessible, equitable care for those living with diabetes by informing policymakers about the priorities and lived experiences of the diabetes community, presented the awards ahead of its Congressional Briefing in coordination with the Congressional Diabetes Caucus on May 15, 2024: Progress, Potential & Pitfalls: Pocketbook Issues Impacting Americans with Diabetes.

"These leaders have proven themselves to be diabetes champions through their dedication and support to advancing legislative efforts aimed at improving diabetes care, research and prevention. They have been long time champions for people with diabetes and for community priorities like reducing costs for insulin and other prescription drugs and improving Medicare coverage of diabetes technology and other standards of care," said Stewart Perry, Board Chair of the Diabetes Leadership Council. "We are proud to recognize their work to improve the lives of the 37 million Americans living with diabetes and we look forward to the future achievements for the community."

Congressman Ruiz (D-CA) shares: "As an emergency medicine physician and a vice chair of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus, I know firsthand how important it is for the patients and constituents I serve to have access to quality, affordable health care. There are over 37 million Americans that are impacted by diabetes, which is why I worked to pass the Inflation Reduction Act that reduced prescription drug prices and capped insulin costs to $35. I am honored to receive the Diabetes Leadership Council's Diabetes Champion Award and reaffirm my commitment to delivering solutions for people impacted by diabetes."

Congressman Bilirakis (R-FL) adds: "I'm honored to accept this award acknowledging my work to improve patient outcomes by promoting prevention and education strategies, boosting early detection, enhancing access to quality care and maximizing coordinated care for diabetes patients and those who are at high risk for developing this debilitating disease. My goal is to empower patients and healthcare providers with tools they can use to optimize health, avoid costly complications, and enjoy a better quality of life."

Nimit Jindal, PharmD, Senior Health Policy Advisor to the Senate HELP Committee and former Health Policy Director for Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), chair of the Diabetes Congressional Caucus, said: "I started my career as a community pharmacist taking care of patients with chronic diseases, including diabetes. When I became a Congressional staffer, I came with a commitment to ease the burden of disease that so many of my former patients would face every day. I'm very proud to have worked with so many other advocates and policymakers to help improve the lives of patients with diabetes and look forward to continuing this work. Thank you to the Diabetes Leadership Council for this thoughtful recognition and for being supportive of these continued efforts."

The Diabetes Champion Award is presented by the Diabetes Leadership Council to the most effective people in Congress based on their commitment to elevate legislative efforts that aim to increase healthcare access and affordability for Americans with chronic health conditions, particularly the 37 million individuals living with diabetes.


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