People living with type 2 diabetes (T2D) face a disproportionately higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), leading to increased morbidity and mortality. This highlights the critical need for prevention and management efforts, as emphasized by the American Heart Association (AHA). With focused efforts to address heart and vascular health, the Know Diabetes by Heart™ initiative provides a promising path forward for over 30 million people living with T2D in the United States.”

“When lifestyle management, diabetes mellitus care, and CVD risk management are optimally delivered to individuals with T2DM, outcomes, defined by longer, healthier lives, improve. The challenge is to increase the number and percentage of individuals receiving optimal care by increasing the number and percentage of clinical care teams delivering optimized care to an informed, engaged patient population,” said Eduardo Sanchez, MD, CMO for Prevention at the AHA and William Cefalu, MD, Chief Scientific, Medical, and Mission Officer at the ADA, in the AHA Circulation Journal.

T2D Management and CVD

Research suggests people living with T2D are two to four times more likely to develop CVD than those without diabetes. What’s more, only about 50% of people with T2D are aware of their cardiovascular risk factors or have had a discussion with a healthcare professional about this relationship. For these reasons, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and AHA have joined forces to tackle CVD head-on.

This collaborative effort aims to raise awareness of CVD risk, provide preventative resources, and help people with T2D manage their risk of heart disease and stroke. Moreover, Know Diabetes by Heart™ provides support for healthcare systems and primary care providers (PCPs) to provide high-quality, evidence-based care to people living with diabetes.

PCPs: The unsung heroes in diabetes management

While endocrinologists provide care for some people living with T2D, about 90% of this population relies on their PCP for ongoing care and management. Know Diabetes by Heart™ seeks to empower these frontline providers in this joint initiative by equipping them with:

  • Evidence-based tools that align with ADA and AHA management and treatment guidelines to improve care outcomes
  • Quality improvement strategies to support specific needs of healthcare systems
  • Education materials to empower people living with T2D to become partners in their care

Know Diabetes by Heart™ offers free webinars, online courses, and podcasts with scientific, evidence-based guidelines of care for T2D providers.

Know Diabetes by Heart™ pilot programs

With changes to traditional diabetes care workflows, clinics and hospital systems are weaving in a vital thread — proactive heart health management. This work aims to optimize clinic processes and empower people with diabetes to become active partners in their health.

The T1D Exchange Quality Improvement Collaborative (T1DX-QI), led by Osagie Ebekozien, MD, MPH, Executive Vice President, and Chief Medical Officer at T1D Exchange, provides quality improvement coaching and capacity building for participating primary care centers and advises the ADA Diabetes INSIDE® QI team on data analysis, program infrastructure, and health equity alignment.


  • Offers a 1:1 monthly coaching program for clinical centers, applying QI methodology to ongoing clinic projects and facilitates development of participant tests of change and improvement plans
  • Provides training and templates for QI coaching and implementation frameworks
  • Assists with the development of a repository of interventions for application and testing based on the input of all participating sites

AIM statements from Know Diabetes by Heart™ pilot programs offer a glimpse into the program’s potential impacts:

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center is focused on improving A1C testing in their T2D population by 10% from baseline, while reducing the percentage of individuals with A1C results greater than 9%.

Menocal Family Practice is focused on improving kidney health screenings by 10% from baseline, while reducing the percentage of individuals with A1C results greater than 9%.

Valley Diabetes & Obesity is focused on providing statin prescriptions for eligible patients to improve lipid management by 10% from baseline, while reducing the percentage of individuals with A1C results greater than 9%.

Looking forward: milestones and expansion on the horizon

The momentum behind Know Diabetes by Heart™ continues with exciting milestones ahead:

  • Late-breaking abstract at ADA 2024 sharing early results and learnings with a broader audience at the 2024 ADA Scientific Sessions
  • Expansion and scaling to additional healthcare systems and communities, reaching a more comprehensive range of patients and addressing disparities in access to quality care
  • Long-term data analysis evaluating the program’s long-term impact on outcomes, healthcare costs, and system efficiency of caring for people with T2D

An industry paradigm shift with real-life impacts

Know Diabetes by Heart™ is a strategic and data-driven effort to tackle a complex healthcare challenge at its core. By empowering PCPs with the tools to prevent, identify, and treat heart disease, Know Diabetes by Heart™ has the potential to reshape the care landscape for T2D, paving the way for a healthier future for millions.

This initiative presents a concrete pathway to improved outcomes, quality of life, and reduced healthcare costs from complications and hospitalizations. Furthermore, by equipping PCPs with the knowledge, tools, and support they need to deliver exceptional care, it is leading to greater job satisfaction and improved practice efficiency.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Heart Association (AHA) act as the driving forces behind this collaborative effort.

Visit the KDBH website to explore resources, success stories, and upcoming events. Sign up for the Know Diabetes by Heart™ newsletter for providers, caregivers, and people living with T2D.