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A Cross-Sector Approach to Tackling Diabetes

Pharmaceutical companies have incredible potential to create social value. One of the companies we point to as a leader in this space, through our previous blog posts and Competing by Saving Lives, is Novo Nordisk. While their core business focuses on creating products for diabetes treatment, Novo Nordisk recognizes that diabetes patients face a complex set of challenges that cannot be solved with a prescription alone.

To effectively tackle Type 2 diabetes, patient screening, diagnoses, treatment and even the food and transportation system must be changed. Novo Nordisk’s desire to understand and influence the entire system affecting patient outcomes deeply resonates with what FSG has learned from work we’ve done in Minnesota, the Rio Grande Valley, and Dallas, where we have participated in forming collective impact initiatives to address diabetes and common pre-conditions, such as childhood obesity. We are excited to see Novo Nordisk elevate the need for cross-disciplinary, cross-sector initiatives in urban areas through the “Cities Changing Diabetes” program.

In Novo Nordisk’s most recent triple bottom line quarterly report, Jesper Høiland explains the philosophy behind the Cities Changing Diabetes approach this way: “The fight against diabetes is bigger than our company. No single organization or individual has the answer, and finding solutions doesn’t always mean someone is right and someone else is wrong. Learning from our stakeholders, collaborating with them, and taking a patient first approach will be critical to our business and the patients we serve.”

To learn more about the Cities Changing Diabetes Program, and to read a discussion between Steve Noyes and Kyle Peterson on how Novo Nordisk and other companies can contribute to a cross-sector effort to tackle diabetes by creating shared value, please check out the quarterly report.

Finally, we are eager to hear what you think can be done to tackle the problem of diabetes, especially in urban areas. We know that the best solutions come from collaborative, cross-sector conversations. Please let us know what you think on by commenting on this post or using the hashtag #urbandiabetes on Twitter. 

Samantha King

Associate Director

Sebastien Mazzuri


Kimberly Gilsdorf

Associate Director