BD Helping Build Healthy Communities™


When you think of BD alleviating disease and suffering around the world, the image that likely comes to mind is a village in Africa or Central America, not in the Silicon Valley or the low country of the southeastern U.S. Yet illness knows no boundaries and the medical issues that exist in the Andes Mountains in Latin America often can be found on the plains of Nebraska. 

Expanding healthcare access and improving care for underserved and vulnerable populations within the United States is the mission of BD Helping Build Healthy Communities™, a four-year initiative funded by BD in partnership with Direct Relief and the National Association of Community Health Centers. It was launched in 2013 as a commitment with the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, the U.S. arm of the Clinton Foundation. 

BD Helping Build Healthy Communities™ has two components:

  • A pledge to donate at least 20 million insulin needles and syringes to CHCs across the country to support diabetes care management for uninsured and under-insured Americans. To date, BD has donated, and Direct Relief has distributed, more than 10 million syringes to these centers.
  • Innovations in Care awards of up to $100,000 each to CHCs for innovative approaches to diabetes, cervical cancer and HIV prevention and management and the co-morbidities that often accompany them. Decisions on award recipients are guided by a panel of reviewers with expertise in clinical and community healthcare in each of the three disease areas. 

Addressing an Unmet Need

Throughout the U.S., 23 million people are medically underserved and receive healthcare at one of more than 2,400 CHCs.[i],[ii],[iii] These providers operate with limited resources, using creative and innovative techniques to provide high-quality primary, preventive, and comprehensive care to the nation’s most vulnerable people. More than 7 million people are without health insurance, and at least 20.4 million have an earned income of 200 percent below the Federal Poverty Level.[iv]

The number of people who receive care at CHCs dramatically increased in recent years due to loss of insurance or limitations to coverage, and volume is expected to grow further. Serving this low-income and uninsured or under-insured population requires dynamic strategies that improve access to care, reduce health disparities, and increase awareness and information about healthy practices.

CHCCs are the largest national network of primary care safety net providers in the nation, reaching more than over 22 million people through more than 9,000 locations. CHCs help eliminate the barriers that uninsured and low-income people routinely face by offering health care services to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay. They are generally located in communities where the local residents would otherwise have little or no access to care and are uniquely positioned to help reduce racial and socio-economic health disparities.

Innovations in Care Awards

In 2013, Innovations in Care awards were given to two CHCs and that number was expanded to seven CHCs in 2014. At the end of the program, BD Helping Build Healthy Communities™ will have supported the launch of more than 50 innovative ideas in community health.

Each program has specific measurement and evaluation criteria that will allow for an annual review of the effectiveness of each of these innovative initiatives. Results will be communicated at the end of each program year to CHCs across the U.S. so that successful programs can be evaluated for implementation in additional locations. BD expects the impact of each grant to multiply and improve outcomes at health centers and for patients across the United States.


The 2015 Innovations in Care award winners are: 

  • ACCESS Community Health Center (ACHC) – Located in New York City’s financial district, ACHC serves a unique patient population of children and adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The center’s Bridges to Diabetes Care program uses technology to help its patients achieve better diabetes management outcomes. While the value of technology in primary care is well-documented, ACHC is evaluating combinations of technology with health education and disease management practices to address the unique learning needs of individuals and their caretakers.

  • Asian Pacific Health Care Venture, Inc. (APHCV) – This Los Angeles, CA-based CHC received an award for its Diabetes Management Workshop, an effort to improve diabetes outcomes for high-risk, diabetic and monolingual Chinese and Vietnamese patients. These patients, who have difficulty sustaining diabetes care in traditional patient-provider settings, respond better to tailored, interactive programs that are both linguistically and culturally appropriate. APHCV’s five-session diabetes workshop includes diet education, a grocery store tour, community gardening, cooking demonstration and a recipe contest. The program also encourages physical activity and action planning through hands-on group discussions, resource materials, and practice.

  • Beaufort Jasper Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, Inc. (BJHCHS) – This Ridgeland, SC, CHC received an award for its Lifestyle Change Program for pre-diabetes and diabetes. Based on evidence that lifestyle changes reduce the incidents of diabetes, BJHCHS piloted the program in 2012 and 2013, with full implementation in 2014. The results proved a success, with an overall decrease in BMI and LDL cholesterol, an increase in time spent exercising, and maintenance of A1c at pre-diabetic levels. BJHCHS plans to expand the program by incorporating diabetes education modules from the American Association of Diabetic Educators.

  • Cornell Scott-Hill Health Corporation (CSHHC) – A collaboration between the City of New Haven, CT and the Yale School of Medicine, this health center received an award for the implementation of Integrated Diabetes Shared Visits, a program that will benefit 120 participants (18 and older) with uncontrolled diabetes (A1c greater than 9%). Participants will attend group sessions and learn about diabetes, weight management, hypertension and depression. They also will receive health screenings and take lifestyles surveys upon entry and after 13 and 26 weeks to measure outcomes.

  • Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley (IHCSCV) – Based in San Jose, CA, this health center was recognized for its Diabetes Prevention and Management Program, an intensive, 17-week lifestyle intervention curriculum for patients with or at risk of diabetes. A multidisciplinary team that consists of a registered dietician, lifestyle health coaches and fitness coordinators deliver the curriculum and help participants develop individualized plans that emphasize healthy eating, weight loss, behavior change and empowerment.

  • Jericho Road Community Health Center (JRCHC) – Residents of Buffalo, NY, representing more than 70 nationalities benefit from the JUCHC’s innovative Diabetes Education Program. The center serves the needs of nearly 800 diabetic patients by managing to bridge language and cultural gaps through the use of an in-house translator — one of only two minority certified diabetes educators in Western New York.

  • Neighborhood Healthcare – Based in Escondido, CA, Neighborhood Healthcare received an award for their newly created Medication Therapy Management Program, which targets patients with diabetes and hypertension. Sixty-seven percent of the center’s patients with diabetes have a co-diagnosis of high blood pressure. Providers have observed issues with medication adherence, dosing, interactions and delays in achieving optimal blood pressure. The Medication Therapy Management program helps improve patient safety for high‐risk patients by integrating medication management to minimize harm related to adverse drug events and maximize optimal health outcomes.

Earlier award recipients include:

  • Asian Health Services of Oakland, CA, for its care coordination program that improves self-management skills for diabetics (2014)
  • The Charles Drew Health Center in Omaha, NE, for its program connecting Women’s Health case managers and patient navigators with women for cervical cancer screenings (2014)
  • The Children’s Clinic in Long Beach, California was given an award for its multi-disciplinary approach to increase cervical cancer screening rates (2013)
  • Housing Works Health Services II in Brooklyn, NY, for a program that utilizes patient navigators to connect homeless LGBT youth to HIV care (2014)
  • The Morris Heights Health Center in the Bronx, NY, for a program that utilizes social networks to engage with and provide care for HIV patients (2014)
  • The Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center in Ahoksie, NC, that provides daily home monitoring to facilitate diabetes patient engagement and provider communication (2014)
  • The Santa Rosa Community Health Center in Santa Rosa, CA, for its family-based diabetes program (2014)
  • The Utah Navajo Health System in Montezuma Creek, UT, for a pharmacist-provided diabetes education program that focuses on self-care and medication management (2014)
  • Zufall Health Center in Dover, New Jersey, received an award for its innovative approaches to diabetes management (2013)

Program inquiries:

Ellen Rafferty

1 National Association of Community Health Centers, Inc. Community Health Centers: The Local Prescription for Better Quality and Lower Costs. Accessed October 16, 2013. Available at:
2 The National Association of Free Clinics & Charitable Clinics. Accessed October 16, 2013. Available at:
3 Darnell, J.S. Free Clinics in the United States. A Nationwide Survey. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2010: (11):170
4 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration. Accessed August 8, 2013. Available at:

Return to Supporting Our Global Community Main Page