SDPI Overview

Congress established the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) in 1997 as part of the Balanced Budget Act to address the growing epidemic of diabetes in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. The Special Diabetes Program for Type 1 Diabetes (SDP) was established at the same time to address the opportunities in type 1 diabetes research. Together, these programs have become the nation’s most strategic, comprehensive and effective effort to combat diabetes and its complications. SDPI currently provides grants for 404 programs in 35 states.

At a rate approximately 2 times the national average, AI/ANs have the highest prevalence of diabetes. In some AI/AN communities, over 50% of adults have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and AI/ANs are 177% more likely to die from diabetes. But SDPI is changing these troubling statistics with marked improvements in average blood sugar levels, reductions in the incidence of cardiovascular disease, prevention and weight management programs for our youth, and a significant increase in the promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviors. This success is due to the nature of this grant program to allow communities to design and implement diabetes interventions that address locally identified community priorities.

On February 9, 2018, Congress passed a two-year renewal of SDPI. The renewal was included in a larger spending package to fund the federal government. This funding agreement followed several rounds of congressional negotiations in which SDPI was renewed for emergency three-month extensions. The uncertainty Tribes experienced as these negotiations continued speaks to the need to secure long term funding for the successful program. SDPI currently has funding through September 30, 2019.

Please visit the "For Advocates" section of this website to learn how you can help in continued efforts to promote this lifesaving program.