In March 2007, the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation committed $1.25 million in cash and $750,000 in assets as the lead gift in the creation of a Diabetes Care Complex at Children's National. The Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex opened in June, 2013, and offers a multi-disciplinary approach to supporting children with diabetes and their families. With state-of-the-art treatment rooms and a multi-functional education center, which includes a demonstration kitchen, the facility houses the largest pediatric diabetes program in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Children's National's Childhood and Adolescent Diabetes Program is the preeminent pediatric diabetes program in the Washington Metropolitan area. Children's cares for more than 1,500 children and adolescents with Type 1, Type 2 and other forms of diabetes. There are over 4,500 visits from patients coming from the District, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania to seek treatment at Children's. No child is ever turned away. All patients initially diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes are medically treated and taught management skills on site at Children's National. Children's comprehensive team includes physicians, certified diabetes educators, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, dietitians, and psychology and social work services.
Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases among children in the United States. Approximately 21 million children and adults have diabetes, which represents 7% of the US population. Children with diabetes are at great risk of developing over the long- term serious health complications if not managed appropriately over time, such as heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, loss of circulation resulting in amputation of limbs, and stroke. The disease affects children and adolescents of all ethnic backgrounds; however Type 2 diabetes is dramatically increasing in obese youth, particularly in minority populations, such as Latinos and African-Americans. There is no cure for diabetes; and it is a 24-hour-a-day disease requiring intervention, monitoring, and balancing food choices to maintain a child's health. The best chance for a child's overall health and well-being is comprehensive management of the disease to keep their bodies as healthy as possible.
The Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex at Children's National has subspecialty integration designed to prevent and treat complications related to diabetes; comprehensive out-patient social work; and a multi-disciplinary approach to address every aspect of a family's needs. "The Lerner Family, the Washington Nationals Baseball Club and the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation are eager to channel the enthusiasm of our fans, partners and sponsors into opportunities to turn community dreams into reality ," said Marla Lerner Tanenbaum, Chair, Washington Nationals Dream Foundation and Principal Owner, Washington Nationals during the press conference announcing the project in March, 2007. "Diabetes is an often over-looked, under-served illness. The foundation is thrilled to be able to use its leadership in the community to draw attention to the problem, and - through its partnership with one of the nation's leading institutions for children's health care -- provide children with diabetes consistent first-rate care and hope for a healthier future."
"With the largest pediatric diabetes program in the region, Children's is proud to partner with The Nationals Foundation to provide much-needed resources to a growing population of children," said Edwin K. Zechman, Jr., President and CEO of Children's National.
"In my 15 years of experience as a pediatric diabetologist, I have seen the number of children with diabetes increase tremendously," said Fran Cogen, MD, CDE, Director of Children's Childhood and Adolescent Diabetes Program. "With this generous commitment from the Nationals, we can better serve the children who suffer from this lifelong disease - and hopefully help prevent obesity and the development of type 2 diabetes with the promotion of healthy lifestyles."