OU Diabetes Institute Aims To Coordinate Disease Studies

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Darlene Berryman says "It is an exciting time to be involved in the study of diabetes at Ohio University."

Berryman is certainly in a position to know.
She is the newly appointed director of the Diabetes Institute here at OU.
"One of the biggest things we have to do is now coordinate all of those pieces and make sure that everybody knows what everybody else is doing and to develop that joint effort, that cohesive effort that the institute will hopefully see come to fruition in the future," said Berryman.
The Diabetes Institute is the first initiative of the Ohio University Health Sciences Center. 
The Institute was created to bring together the many diabetes-related programs throughout the university in an effort to best address one of the most critical health-care issues facing Americans.
"The Diabetes Institute was created out of need, honestly, there were multiple efforts on campus and university-wide to combat diabetes and there was different leadership for each and there was not a lot of coordination between those groups and so with the growth of them, the success of them, there was the need to better coordinate those groups on campus. So, I think need is the biggest basis," said Berryman. 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than eight percent of Americans have diabetes. 
The incidence in Ohio is higher than in the rest of the nation at nine-point-five percent.
Here in Appalachian Ohio it is higher yet: 11.5 percent.
"In this region, there's a very high prevalence of diabetes and obesity, so there's an immediate clinical need, but there's also a need to find better ways to combat this devastating disease for everyone at every level," said Berryman.
The Diabetes Institute used to be called the Diabetes Endocrine Center.
The name was just recently changed by the OU Trustees.
The newly named institute will assume and build upon several existing initiatives, including the Diabetes Research Initiative, the Diabetes Coalition and clinical services on the O'Bleness Hospital campus.
"With the establishment of the Institute," says Berryman, OU "will be able to make a significant impact towards reducing the diabetes disease burden regionally, nationally and globally."
Berryman is one of several appointments made possible in part by a historic $105 million gift to the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations.
Berryman has a dual appointment with both the medical college and the College of Health Sciences and Professions. 
In addition to her directorship responsibilities, she will continue her obesity research at the Edison Biotechnology Institute and as associate professor of food and nutrition and continue to oversee the Diabetes Certificate Program. 
The Diabetes Institute will be administratively housed in OU's Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, with financial and personnel resources contributed by the College of Health Science and Professions, the Edison Biotechnology Institute, and the Office of Vice President for Research and Creative Activity.