Questions & Answers

  1. Why are you doing this?

We’re ending the Diabetes Partnership of Cleveland in its present form because we believe current circumstances – the modern state of healthcare, the evolving needs of people with diabetes and their families, and some pressing costs, particularly the cost of owning and operating Camp Ho Mita Koda, our 73-acre site in Newbury where we hold summer camps for children with diabetes – dictate this dramatic step.

We believe the better way forward is to have two separate groups, with one overseeing the camp and the other taking on community programs, such as insulin distribution and self-management programs that help educate and provide support for people living with the chronic disease.

That’s why we’re immediately looking for smart, passionate people to lead these groups.

  1. Can you be more specific? What does modern healthcare have to do with this? And what do people with diabetes now need that you haven’t provided?

We’ve seen a rapidly growing trend for several years now of health systems providing more education services like Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSME) classes, duplicating some Partnership programs. We’ve also faced more challenges raising money as donors have been more and more reluctant to support single-issue chronic disease causes.

Meanwhile, on the camp side, we’ve experienced declining enrollment.

We think separating these issues and having one group dedicated to the specific needs of community programs, and a second dedicated to the specific needs of campers and their families, will enable both programs to overcome these challenges.

That’s why we’re having two meetings very soon designed to gain community support and gather ideas.

A meeting for those interested in saving and operating the community programs is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 18 at the Partnership offices in Beachwood, at 3601 S. Green Road. Community programs have included services for adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, such as emergency insulin distribution, health and wellness programs on nutrition, and self-management education and support programs.

A meeting for people interested in saving and operating the summer programs at Camp Ho Mita Koda in Newbury for children with pre-diabetes as well as type 1 or type 2 is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, April 24 at the camp.

  1. So, has the Diabetes Partnership failed?

No. Efforts to provide treatment, education and support for people with diabetes stretch back decades in Northeast Ohio. Over these many years, the approaches have evolved and the organizations have changed and evolved as well. The current iteration is the Diabetes Partnership of Cleveland.

For years, the Partnership has served Northeast Ohio well. The big mistake now would be clinging to an outdated bureaucracy or organization instead of evolving to meet the changing needs.

This is a very careful – and painful – decision for those of us who have put our hearts, minds and souls into the Partnership. But we’ve also become convinced that it is the correct decision if we want to find a better way forward.

  1. While you’re looking for these people to step forward and save the programs, what happens? What happens to insulin distribution? How about this summer’s camp?

We are in a “winding-down” period that we expect will take about 90 days. The emergency insulin distribution will continue for a time. But it is crucial to move quickly to find people dedicated to the mission of having effective community programs for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes and their families.

At this point, the Partnership will not be operating a summer camp, nor able to accommodate any rentals. We are in the process of contacting people who have signed up to attend or work at the camp, returning deposits and taking care of other details.

Anyone with questions about any Diabetes Partnership programs or upcoming events should contact Tom Bennett, our executive director, at 216-591-0800 or tbennett@diabetespartnership.org.

  1. What do you want to happen at these meetings?

We hope that people in our community who feel passionately about the issues of diabetes treatment, education and support for living with diabetes will come to our meetings. We want to hear their questions and their ideas. And we hope that at these meetings we’ll find the leaders for the next generation of diabetes programs in Northeast Ohio.

  1. What happens to the money people already have given you for programs that now won’t happen?

We are in the process of contacting everyone we work with, including donors and corporate partners. We’re particularly sensitive to being responsible stewards of the money we’ve been given, so we’ll be working with every donor.

At the same time we know the needs have not gone away – and that includes the need for financial support for diabetes-related programs. That’s why we’re working hard and fast to find people who have the knowledge, passion and fresh ideas to operate a successful summer camp and launch reimagined community programs that match the needs and wants of people across Northeast Ohio affected by diabetes.

  1. Speaking of the summer camp, what’s to keep you from cashing in and selling off that land in Newbury to private developers?

Again, we are immediately launching efforts to find people passionate about helping children with diabetes. Our experience has told us that a summer camp experience designed specifically for children with diabetes provides an enormous service. We believe there remains a need for such a camp.

Additionally, the original donation of the camp land in Newbury specified that it must be used for diabetes-related activities.

  1. If a new group steps up to run the camp, will you give that group the land?

That would be our intent. We’re at a very early stage, so we must be careful about commitments, and this is a complicated legal process. But our goal is to see that a summer camp for children with diabetes continues in Newbury.

  1. How long have you known this was going to happen? Have you been keeping this to yourselves while continuing to accept donations and schedule events?

As an organization, we have been working to adjust to the changes and challenges for some time. Naturally, you resist the idea of ending an organization that you love and have worked hard for. Only in the past several weeks, did it become absolutely clear to our board of directors that this kind of dramatic action was necessary and correct. Once it did become clear, though, we decided that we had to move quickly and decisively on this strategy to end the Partnership in its current form and seek leaders for separate groups for the summer camp and community program.

  1. What if no one steps up to lead these two new groups you envision will run the summer camp for kids or the community programs?

Our most fervent hope is that this ending will lead to the beginning of a reimagined and transformed approach to serving the community in Northeast Ohio affected by diabetes. We firmly believe that there are people out there ready to step up and take on the challenge.

 

###