News Release

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Francine R. Kaufman, M.D. Begins Term as Diabetes Education Program Chair

Francine R. Kaufman, M.D., director of the Comprehensive Childhood Diabetes Center and head of the Center for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, began a three-year term as chair of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) on October 1.

As chair of NDEP, Kaufman is charged with strengthening the program's commitment to changing the way diabetes is treated by increasing awareness of the importance of managing diabetes to reduce its complications, preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes among those at risk, and by disseminating information to encourage people to take action to prevent or control the disease. NDEP is jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kaufman has served on NDEP advisory committees since 2000. She succeeds Lawrence Blonde, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.E., director of the Ochsner Diabetes Clinical Research Unit in the Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism and Associate Internal Medicine Residency Program director at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans.

Kaufman has appointments at the Keck School of Medicine and the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California (USC) as Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Communications. She also serves as a co-principal investigator of the Keck Diabetes Prevention Initiative at USC, a program designed to identify and address the interrelated factors that lead to obesity and diabetes in certain areas of Los Angeles. A diplomat of the American Board of Pediatrics and board certified in pediatric endocrinology and metabolism, Kaufman is the principal investigator of two trials sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of NIH: the "Treatment Options for Type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents and Youth" (TODAY) study, which seeks to identify the best treatment of type 2 diabetes in children and teens ages 10 to 17, and HEALTHY, a school-based study to lower diabetes risk factors in middle school students, which is part of a broader research initiative "Studies to Treat or Prevent Pediatric Type 2 Diabetes" (STOPP T2D).

"For the past three years, Dr. Blonde has focused on strengthening NDEP's partnerships, and I thank him for his many contributions as NDEP chair. It is with immense pleasure that I welcome Dr. Kaufman, a proven leader in the diabetes community, who will focus on disseminating materials and continuing and building on partnerships to improve diabetes prevention and care," said Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., Director of NIDDK.

Kaufman has numerous publications, awards, and honors. Her book, " Diabesity: The Obesity-Diabetes Epidemic that Threatens America — And What We Must Do to Stop It," illustrates the link between obesity and diabetes and calls for changes in public policy to reverse the slide toward inactivity and poor dietary habits. She also collaborated with Discovery Health Channel on the documentary Diabetes: A Global Epidemic, which premiered in November 2007.

Kaufman is a former president of the American Diabetes Association and has been active with organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, International Diabetes Federation and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International. In 2005, Kaufman was elected to the Institute of Medicine. She received a bachelor's degree from Northwestern University in 1972 and a medical degree from Chicago Medical School in 1976.

Established in 1997, NDEP provides free information and resources for health care professionals, people at risk for type 2 diabetes, people with diabetes and those who care for them. Among the materials are tip sheets and brochures in 20 adaptations tailored to high-risk audiences, including African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, older adults, and women with a history of gestational diabetes and their children. For more information, visit NDEP or call 1-888-693-NDEP (6337); TTY: 1-866-569-1162.

NIDDK, a component of the NIH, conducts and supports research in diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutrition, and obesity; and kidney, urologic and hematologic diseases. Spanning the full spectrum of medicine and afflicting people of all ages and ethnic groups, these diseases encompass some of the most common, severe, and disabling conditions affecting Americans. For more information about NIDDK and its programs, see

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®