The Russell Berrie Foundation
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Jewish Renaissance

The Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University and the New York Presbyterian Hospital Diabetes Health Center of Excellence

Family-centered diabetes research and care

Young diabetes patients have fun at the Berrie Center’s
Halloween party

The groundbreaking Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University was a collaborative vision between the Foundation and Columbia University. The Center is one of the premier diabetes treatment facilities in the country, offering a new standard of diabetes care in New York.

The Foundation’s $13 million grant created the Center in 1997 along with local and state government funding. It combines unprecedented family-oriented patient care and education with world-class diabetes research programs to give diabetes patients information, treatment and hope.

Patient Care

The clinical program at the Center provides holistic care, podiatry services, eye care services and more. To simplify management of this complicated disease, the Center’s total diabetes care program includes endocrinologists specializing in diabetes, as well as nurse educators, nutritionists and exercise physiologists. The Center currently treats more than 13,000 patients annually.


The Center takes a unique, comprehensive approach to diabetes care that encourages patients to involve their entire families in the treatment process. It houses the Becton Dickinson Family Learning Center to provide information that helps patients and families manage diabetes, with a goal of helping them integrate optimal diabetes management into their everyday lives.


The Naomi Berrie Center ribbon cutting with NY Gov. George Pataki and former
Sen. Al D’Amato

Led by Co-Director, Dr. Rudolph Leibel, the Research Center is comprised of world-renowned physicians and scientists focusing on the genetics of diabetes. Advances made at the research center are made available to the patients at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center as rapidly as possible.

Named after Russ Berrie’s mother, who suffered from diabetes, the Center has been designated as one of three "Diabetes Centers of Excellence" in New York State.

"The Center was designed to respect the dignity of people with diabetes," says Dr. Robin Goland, Co-Director of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center. "We have designed our approach to patient care and the physical space of the Center to acknowledge the fact that patients have active and productive lives."

Cellular Therapy Research

In May 2003, The Russell Berrie Foundation’s $12 million gift to Columbia University School of Medicine created an innovative program in cellular therapies focused on preventing and curing diabetes. Spearheaded by top scientist Dr. Rudolph Liebel, the cellular therapy program is conducting research in innovative ways to confront the war on diabetes.

Dr Liebel and other Columbia University colleagues work closely with top level scientists and researchers in other leading medical schools across the country and abroad, such as Harvard, Vanderbilt and Jerusalem universities. Together they collaborate in joint research projects as well as share results about their individual work, which could lead to advances that one day may spare patients the need for daily insulin injections and prevent the devastating complications of diabetes— blindness, amputation, kidney failure, nerve damage and heart disease.

Current Russell Berrie Foundation's support for Diabetes Care at Columbia University Medical Center and the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center

In March 2008, the Foundation donated $28 million to the Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and New York-Presbyterian Hospital to further the fight against diabetes. 

CUMC will use $21 million of the gift for clinical care at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, a new professorship, new pilot research, a continuation of the Berrie Program in Cellular Therapies and the Center’s endowment.  The grant also challenges the Berrie Center to raise an additional $25 million from other sources to fund diabetes research and care.

New York-Presbyterian Hospital will use the $7 million donation to establish a Diabetes Heart Center of Excellence at its Washington Heights campus that will focus on the cardiovascular complications of diabetes.

Please click here to read recent press releases on the Foundation’s gift. 

For more information on the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, please click the following link to be directed to the Center’s website:

For more information on the New York Presbyterian Hospital Diabetes Health Center of Excellence, please click the following link to be directed to the Hospital’s website: