Columbia University Medical Center

Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center Turns 15 in Race for a Cure

Naomi Berrie 15th Anniversary Video from Jon Reitzes on Vimeo.

Robin Goland, MD, a co-director of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, says her goal for the center, which turned 15 this fall, is to not have a 30th anniversary because of the strides being made now in research and treatment. Dr. Goland, the J. Merrill Eastman Professor of Diabetes at CUMC, states her goal in a new documentary that celebrates the center’s 15-year anniversary.

Dr. Goland echoes the sentiment of Domenico Accili, MD, the Russell Berrie Foundation Professor of Diabetes (in Medicine), who says the center is effective because researchers and clinicians share a “single-minded goal of ending the disease as we know it.”

Opened in October 1998, the Berrie Center is named for Naomi Berrie, the mother of Russ Berrie, a philanthropist and founder of Russ Berrie and Company Inc., a toy and gift manufacturer.

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Russ Berrie, with large scissors, at the opening of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center.

In the late 1990s, Mr. Berrie donated $13.5 million to partially fund the building where the center is housed and to help launch the clinical and research programs of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center. Mr. Berrie, who had type 2 diabetes, died in 2002. His mother died of complications of type 1 diabetes.

The concept for a multidisciplinary center with clinical and basic research components was developed by Dr. Goland, Mr. Berrie’s doctor, who became the center’s founding co-director. Rudolph L. Leibel, MD, the Christopher J. Murphy Memorial Professor of Diabetes Research, is also co-director.

The center serves the New York area, where 1.6 million people have diabetes, by combining diabetes research and education programs with family-oriented patient care. More than 100 faculty and students conduct basic and clinical research related to the pathogenesis and treatment of all forms of diabetes and its complications. More information about the center’s programs is available at www.nbdiabetes.org.