Roger Sorg

Director, Diabetes Clinic and Chairman, Board of Directors
Volunteers in Medicine Clinic
Purpose Prize Fellow 2008

Bringing comprehensive diabetes treatment to uninsured and low-income people

After nearly 35 years with a bustling pathology practice, Roger Sorg refocused his medical skills on primary care. Sorg’s new focus led him to develop one of the first Volunteers-in-Medicine (VIM) clinics on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. As an interest in primary care at the VIM, he noticed the high number of low-income patients diagnosed with diabetes. At age 60, Sorg motivated his colleagues to join in taking action. Broad agreement exists on how to manage diabetes, but fewer than 40 percent of those afflicted receive recommended levels of medical care. Dr. Sorg returned to school for Diabetic Educator certification to find a way to help. With his colleagues, they developed a disease management program at the VIM clinic designed after the Joslin Diabetes Clinic to ensure uniform, high-level care for diabetic patients. The clinic had 30,000 patient visits in 2007 with hundreds of new patients diagnosed with diabetes and receiving care for the first time. It achieved significant reductions in several important areas including, diabetic patients’ hemoglobin levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol, along with significantly more foot and eye exams. Sorg showed that quality disease management can occur in a free-clinic general-care environment, and his program structure can be easily replicated. “We are doing what we were trained to do – be physicians. We are making a tangible difference in the health of the entire community. I cannot imagine NOT using my talents to support our community.”