The Behavioral Diabetes Institute (BDI) is dedicated to helping people with diabetes live long, healthy and happy lives. While diabetes can wreak terrible harm, recent scientific evidence indicates that most long-term complications can be delayed or prevented when there is appropriate medical care and active self-management. Unfortunately, this can be tough, since living well with diabetes takes time, knowledge, and effort. Many people become overwhelmed, frustrated, or “burned out” by the daily difficulties of diabetes and by the unending, often burdensome self-care demands, potentially leading to anger, guilt, depression, fear, feelings of hopelessness. This can often lead to stresses and strains on personal relationships.

Addressing these real-life emotional aspects of diabetes is critical for long-term success, yet often they are given little attention in common medical practice. The BDI was created to help people better identify, understand, and tackle these problems.


The Behavioral Diabetes Institute (BDI) was created as an educational non-profit organization to better recognize, understand, and tackle the real-life emotional challenges of diabetes. To accomplish these tasks, the BDI provides direct clinical services for people with diabetes (e.g., diabetes-specific psychological support programs and behaviorally-based education and training in diabetes self-management) and professional services for health care professionals (e.g., training programs in behavioral diabetes interventions), while also conducting studies to elucidate the key behavioral contributors to successful diabetes management.

Since BDI’s founding in 2003, several thousand people with diabetes and their loved ones have participated in our in-person programs in San Diego. Currently, BDI offers a variety of very low cost group classes and one-day workshops that address: depression, eating disorders, life with complications, parenting challenges and struggles with control, and diabetes “burnout”. In addition, BDI has reached over 250,000 people with diabetes and their loved ones through its written publications and online resources.

BDI has held more than a dozen in-person trainings for healthcare professionals on emotional/ behavioral aspects of diabetes. Many of these trainings were video recorded and are available at no charge on the BDI website. The three, part-time clinical psychologists at BDI are also committed to educating outside healthcare professionals on the emotional aspects of diabetes and are frequently invited speakers around the globe. In addition, through the research arm of the BDI, we have completed a series of major studies on the emotional aspects of diabetes that have led to more than a dozen scientific publications.

Financially, BDI has been largely self-sustaining by raising operating funds through the sale and licensing of our 5 written tools. In developing global partnerships, BDI publications have been licensed around the world, reaching patients across North America, the European Union, Southeast Asia, Australia and the Middle East.


To date, funding for BDI operations has come from revenue generated by licensing of print materials and individual donations.

To support the design, development, and provision of its products and services to the diabetes community, BDI seeks operating revenue from the following sources:

  • Donations from individuals and organizations
  • Licensing of print materials
  • Fees for services
  • Grants for specific projects or operating support


William Polonsky


Susan Guzman

Director of Clinical Education

Lawrence Fisher

Research Director

Martin Lafontaine

Global Director of Licensing

Anne DeFazio

Office Manager


Brian Haubenstock


David Price


William Polonsky


Susan Guzman


Michael Mehringer