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Herman G. Berkman Diabetes Clinical Innovation Fund

Herman G. Berkman, PhD, believed in the mission and care model of the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence. Through a gracious gift made by the late Dr. Berkman, UMass Memorial Health established the Berkman Diabetes Clinical Innovation Fund.

Past Recipients

Implementing an artificial intelligence diabetic retinopathy screening program in family medicine clinics

Optometrist Juan Ding, OD, PhD and co-investigator James Ledwith, MD, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health were awarded the 2022 Herman G. Berkman Diabetes Clinical Innovation Fund grant.

Project Summary
Their project offers a path to improve methods of screening for diabetic retinopathy and make it widely available. UMass Memorial Health partnered with digital health company AEYE Health to test the diagnostic accuracy of a hand-held AI-assisted camera to be used by primary care physicians to screen at-risk individuals for retinal changes indicative of diabetic retinopathy. This project will allow for efficient retinal imaging at primary care locations. It will also support analyzing the impact of offering primary care screening and its sustainability.

Helping people navigate between the Emergency Department and subspecialty diabetes care

oconnors-berkman-grant.jpgMark O’Connor, MD, and Laurel O'Connor, MD, were awarded the 2021 Herman G. Berkman Diabetes Clinical Innovation Fund grant. Their project is a collaboration between the Diabetes Center of Excellence and colleagues in the Emergency Department (ED) at UMass Memorial. The study analyzed whether continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) successfully keeps people from returning to the hospital with diabetes-related issues once they’ve been discharged from the emergency room. It was be the first study of its kind to evaluate the benefits of CGM for ER patients. 

Project Summary
Their "Glycemic Optimization on Discharge from the Emergency Room (GOOD-ER)” program was a randomized controlled trial to assess if CGM improves quality of life and A1c levels for patients treated in the Emergency Department. Participants included people with pre-existing diabetes as well as those who arrived to the emergency room undiagnosed.  

Improving the Inpatient Blood Glucose Management program

Leslie J. Domalik, MD, and Asem Ali, MD, were awarded the second annual Herman G. Berkman Diabetes Clinical Innovation Fund grant in 2020. Their project is intended to improve blood glucose control for all patients admitted to UMass Memorial hospitals who are living with diabetes. 

Project Summary
The project was developed on the premise that adopting a flexible meal dosing option based on carbohydrate counting will improve the outcomes of hospitalized patients. The study is focused on coordinating appropriate timing of blood glucose testing, insulin dosing, and when rapid acting mealtime insulin is administered. It also provides carbohydrate counts for all food within the hospitals and better coordinates insulin delivery with when meals are delivered to patients.

Improving care access for at-risk diabetes patients

Daniel J. Amante PhD, MPH, and Adarsha S. Bajracharya, MD, were the inaugural recipients of The Herman G. Berkman Diabetes Clinical Innovation Fund in 2019. It led to Dr. Amante receiving a three-year KL2 Mentored Career Development Training grant to develop a Diabetes Mellitus program using Behavioral economics to Optimize Outreach and Self-management support with Technology (DM-BOOST). 

Project Summary
ID PLUS Care is a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to improve care access, quality, and management for at-risk patients with diabetes. The program monitors Electronic Health Record data to identify UMass Medicare Accountable Care Organization patients at risk for negative outcomes and proactively contacts patients to nudge them towards recommended services.

Eligibility Guidelines 

The objective of this fund is to support the development of diabetes clinical care initiatives that would not normally find funding through medical billing operational expenses or research grant funding programs. Proposals requesting between $50,000 and $150,000 will be considered. Special consideration is given to proposals that include:

  • Innovative approaches intended to directly improve the lives of people living with diabetes
  • Multidisciplinary approaches that foster inter-departmental and/or inter-institutional collaborations
  • Support for individuals, groups, and communities that are economically or educationally disadvantaged or underrepresented
  • Specific connection to the UMass Memorial Health mission in the fields of education and patient care

Eligibility Guidelines

Approval Process

Faculty and staff of the UMass Memorial Health system and the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School are invited to apply.

The committee will consider funding proposals assessed to have the greatest likelihood of uniquely achieving the objectives described above. Applicants are to submit a brief description of their proposed project for review. Based on submitted proposals, selected applicants will be asked to submit a full proposal that will enable reviewers to fully evaluate the proposed project. Applicants should be prepared to provide a summary of relevant experience, expertise, capabilities, organizational background, project details, and a comprehensive line-item budget (with justification).

Applications will reopen in early 2024

Abstract Application


Email the completed abstract application with a copy of your curriculum vitae to:

Questions? Email: or call Lisa Hubacz, Administrator at (774) 445-3654. 

E-mail submissions only.  No hard copies will be accepted.