Major Partnership Set to Tackle Diabetes; One of Alberta’s Most Significant Health Concerns


Calgary, AB June 7, 2018 – Today, the University Hospital Foundation, accompanied by representatives from Novo Nordisk Canada Inc. and the Government of Alberta’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, announced the establishment of the Novo Nordisk Alberta Diabetes Fund.


This Private Public Philanthropic Partnership (P4) will support innovation and industry-driven, applied research in Alberta’s life science sector, with the ultimate goal of advancing long-term health outcomes, quality of life, and economic prosperity for Albertans suffering with diabetes.


Specifically the partnership will focus on:

  • Improving diabetes-obesity interventions and management in the community setting for the most vulnerable patients, through primary care networks
  • Enhancing diabetes-obesity interventions and management for seniors, to support independent living
  • Improving acute care for patients presenting in hospital with diabetes.


The prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diabetes is a key factor in improving the health of Albertans. In 2016, 300,000 Albertans, 7.5% of the population, were known to have diabetes. The prevalence of diabetes increased by 61% from 2000 through 2016; and in the next 10 years, is expected to jump by a further 41%. But perhaps most alarming, this rate of increase is most acute in younger Albertans.


And the impact of diabetes on health is significant: diabetes contributes to 70% of non-traumatic lower limb amputations, and often leads to obesity. And as Albertans with obesity have an increased risk of other chronic conditions, lower quality of life and increased use of healthcare services (spending on average 5 days in hospital, rather than the 3 days standard for those without diabetes), the impact of not treating the chronic condition is far reaching.


“While Novo Nordisk provides a broad portfolio of treatment options and delivery devices, we know that it takes more than medicine for people living with obesity or diabetes to experience full and healthy lives,” explains Brian Hilberdink, President of Novo Nordisk Canada Inc. “Through this partnership, we have an opportunity not only to improve health outcomes for Albertans with these chronic conditions, but also to address risk factors contributing to this concerning trend.”


But just as Alberta’s rates of obesity are high, the province is uniquely positioned to change this trend through collaboration.


“Through Public Private Philanthropic Partnerships like this, we are able to tackle big questions and problems with a breadth of experience and perspective that would not be possible for any one of us on our own,” said Jim Brown, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the University Hospital Foundation. “This partnership will fuel innovation that will change and save lives for generations to come.”


Alberta is uniquely positioned for these partnerships because of the strength of our life sciences sector, the proven willingness of many organizations to partner with a common vision, and the provincial government’s commitment to increasing economic diversification, by building Alberta’s knowledge economy.


“This new support for our life-sciences leaders is the same type of support that helped Alberta innovators develop the Edmonton Protocol, which makes the liver, instead of the pancreas, the storehouse of insulin,” said the Honourable Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade.


“This procedure – which the rest of the world now relies on – is the biggest step forward since the advent of insulin. The new fund will extend that legacy to the next generation of treatment and prevention, and at the same time grow our life-sciences sector as we build an economic recovery to last.”


Through Novo Nordisk’s partnership with the Government of Alberta and the University Hospital Foundation, the power of collaboration between industry, the public and philanthropic sectors is harnessed, to advance and translate innovations into solutions that impact the health of all Albertans. The made-in-Alberta solutions built through this partnership will not only impact the health outcomes of Albertans; this partnership has the opportunity to impact Canada and the world.


About Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with 95 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. This heritage has given us experience and capabilities that also enable us to help people defeat obesity, haemophilia, growth disorders and other serious chronic diseases. Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 42,700 people in 79 countries and markets its products in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube.


About University Hospital Foundation

Through philanthropic investment, the University Hospital Foundation accelerates innovation in research and patient care to benefit the millions of Edmontonians, Albertans, and Canadians from a geographic area the size of Western Europe who receive care at the University of Alberta Hospital; and patients around the world who benefit from local research and innovation that is changing the way health care is delivered. Through Public Private Philanthropic Partnerships (P4 model), we bring together the power of industry, the public sector and philanthropic collaborations, to advance and translate Alberta’s innovations into solutions that impact the health of all Albertans.


About Alberta Economic Development and Trade

The Ministry of Alberta Economic Development and Trade focuses on economic growth and diversification by supporting innovation and research; expanding access to capital for small and medium-sized enterprises; promoting trade, investment and market access initiatives; and leading Alberta’s negotiations on trade agreements. Please visit our website at

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  • Emma Brook
  • Communications Specialist
    University Hospital Foundation

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