Published on March 31, 2009

Gift Enhances Diabetes Care at Mary Greeley Medical Center

AMES, IA -- A gift from an Ames businessman will allow Mary Greeley Medical Center to expand its diabetes treatment and education services.

William Burke, a long-time supporter of the medical center, has pledged $300,000 for the Mary Greeley Medical Center Diabetes and Nutrition Education Center. The gift will help to support two new positions: a full-time diabetes clinical resource nurse and a part-time diabetes and nutrition liaison. The gift is part of The Campaign to Reach, Teach and Treat, which Mary Greeley Medical Center Foundation launched in 2006 to fund expansion of the Diabetes and Nutrition Education Center's facility, staff and programs.

"Bill Burke is a wonderful and deeply appreciated friend of the Mary Greeley Medical Center," says Brian Dieter, president of Mary Greeley. "When he sees a need, he does everything he can to take care of it. His generosity has already provided so many benefits to our patients and their families, and this new gift will significantly improve the diabetes care we are able to offer the community."

The diabetes clinical resource nurse will provide comprehensive, in-patient care management for people with diabetes. The diabetes and nutrition liaison will focus on outreach and education. Interviews for the positions are underway and the medical center expects to fill the positions this spring.

Burke is the founder of Burke Marketing Corporation, a pizza ingredient supplier. He retired in 2007 after selling the business to Hormel. Burke was diagnosed with diabetes 25 years ago and has received services from Mary Greeley Medical Center since 1978 when Dr. George Hegstrom and Charlene Freeman began organizing the medical center's diabetes education program. The program was certified by the state of Iowa in 1988 and by the American Diabetes Association in 1989.

"I've read that as many as one out of three kids born in the year 2000 could come down with diabetes in their lifetime," says Burke. "The objective of this donation is to help those people and others find out in time if they have the disease, or are at risk, and to prevent it if possible or help them take control of their treatment early on."

The Diabetes and Nutrition Education Center has specially trained staff, including a board-certified endocrinologist, nurses, and dietitians. The center had more than 6,200 patient visits last year.

"Diabetes statistics are alarming but with skilled staff and strong intervention and education programs, Mary Greeley Medical Center will be prepared to address the challenges of this devastating disease," says Richard Carano, M.D., director of the Diabetes and Nutrition Education Center. "Mr. Burke's generous gift will contribute significantly to these efforts."

Diabetes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action or both. People with diabetes have increased risks for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease and other serious health issues.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 23.6 million people in the United States have diabetes, which represents nearly 8 percent of the population. Every 24 hours more than 4,000 cases of diabetes are diagnosed.

The Mary Greeley Medical Center Foundation is the preferred channel for giving to Mary Greeley Medical Center. The Foundation's mission is to assist Mary Greeley Medical Center in promoting health and providing compassionate, high-quality care by encouraging charitable giving from individuals and organizations.