Kaiser Permanente Southern California Awarded more than $3 Million from CDC for Research in Childhood Diabetes

PASADENA Calif. The Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation has been awarded more than $3 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to continue the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study for an additional five years, to 2015. SEARCH is a multi-center observational study that is nationally recognized as the largest and most ethnically diverse study of youth with type 1 and type 2 diabetes ever conducted in the United States. The combined population under surveillance for childhood diabetes across the five centers is just under 5 million youth.

Although diabetes mellitus is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood, we had limited data before the SEARCH study began to evaluate not only the temporal trends in the diagnosis of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but also the complications, quality of life, and quality of care received by children with diabetes from diverse backgrounds, said Jean M. Lawrence, ScD, MPH, MSSA, research scientist with the Department of Research & Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, and the study’s principal investigator for the California clinical center.

The SEARCH study began in 2000 and was designed to better understand the apparent increase of type 2 diabetes in youth within several populations – especially American Indians, Hispanics and African Americans – and to learn whether the increase in the incidence of type 1 observed in other countries was also occurring in the US. Within Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s membership, more than 200 children are newly diagnosed with diabetes each year.

The SEARCH study’s unique ability to gather information from around the United States has led to important findings about the prevalence of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in childhood, as well as the risk factors that may be associated with future complications, said Joshua Allen May, MD, pediatric endocrinologist at Kaiser Permanente’s Los Angeles Medical Center. The study highlights the increasing problem of type 2 diabetes in youth and will continue to contribute greatly to our current understanding of pediatric diabetes due to the size of the population being studied as well as the geographic and ethnic diversity of the study participants.

Due to the racial and ethnic diversity of the Kaiser Permanente membership that mirrors that of the Southern California population, and our significant scientific contributions to this study over the past 10 years, the funding from the CDC enables us to continue to conduct the SEARCH study, notes Dr. Lawrence. SEARCH is a part of the growing body of knowledge about children with diabetes in this country.

Co-investigators on the California study team include Kristi Reynolds, PhD, MPH from the Department of Research & Evaluation; Ann Kershnar, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist with the Southern California Permanente Medical Group; and David Pettitt, MD, of the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute in Santa Barbara, Calif.

In addition to the Kaiser Permanente Southern California clinical center, the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study has four other clinical centers located at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, the University of Colorado in Denver, Seattle Children’s Research Institute and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The coordinating center is at Wake Forest University and the central laboratory is at the University of Washington.

About the Kaiser Permanente Department of Research and Evaluation
The Department of Research and Evaluation (R&E) conducts high quality, innovative research into disease etiology, prevention, treatment and care delivery. Investigators conduct epidemiology, health sciences, and behavioral research as well as clinical trials. Areas of interest include diabetes and obesity, cancer, HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease, aging and cognition, pregnancy outcomes, women’s and children’s health, quality and safety, and pharmacoepidemiology. Located in Pasadena, Calif., the department focuses on translating research to practice quickly to benefit the health and lives of Kaiser Permanente Southern California members and the general population. Visit

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 8.6 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.