Monday, February 23, 2009

Tax Checkoff Helps Diabetes Research in PA

At the bottom of the Pennsylvania tax return, filers owed a refund have the opportunity to give all or a portion of it to one of 5 charities. Among them is the Juvenile (TYPE I) Diabetes Cure Research Fund. In 2004 the state legislature added the fund to the list of options that annually generates about a half million dollars for the charities. In 2007 alone the Diabetes Fund picked up $58,000. Leslie Best is the Director of the Bureau Of Health Promotion And Risk Reduction at the State Department of Health. She manages the fund. She says the tax check-off is the only source of revenue for the fund so it took two years before they could award their first research grant. Best says when they asked for proposals they received a good batch of applicants and put together a panel to review them. The grant ultimately went to a researcher at the Penn State School of Medicine for a study on the impact type I diabetes has on vision. Best says the researcher has two years to finish the work. In the meantime the fund is building up its reserves again and hopes to put out a request for applications next year. She says Type I Diabetes is a serious issue that deserves the research dollars. She says more than 3 million Americans have Type I diabetes and every year about 5,000 kids are newly diagnosed.

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