'Bachelor' and 'Doctors' TV star Stork talks heart health for diabetes in new Lilly and BI campaign

Dr. Travis Stork partners on campaign to urge people with type 2 diabetes and their loved ones to take action. Source: Eli Lilly

Heart disease and diabetes go hand in hand, but many people don’t know that. So Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim are launching a new disease awareness campaign partnering with Dr. Travis Stork, who currently co-hosts the TV show “The Doctors” and is a real-life emergency medicine physician. Stork is also known for his appearance as season 8’s bachelor on the popular reality show “The Bachelor.”

The two companies created the campaign called “For Your Sweetheart” to raise awareness about the increased risk of heart disease for people with Type 2 diabetes after fielding recent survey results. Their survey found that three-fourths of Americans, and two-thirds of people with Type 2 diabetes, did not know that heart disease is the No. 1 related killer of people with Type 2. More than half of the Type 2 patients (52%) didn’t know they are at increased risk for heart disease.

Lilly and Boehringer created an alliance in 2011 to focus on drug development for diabetes. The duo’s SGLT2 med Jardiance made headlines in 2015 as the first diabetes med to show it could improve cardiovascular outcomes for high-risk Type 2 patients, and the companies are counting on a potential FDA label update—which would allow them to claim a reduction in cardiovascular death—to drive growth for the product going forward.

The new disease awareness campaign includes a one-minute video featuring Stork talking about the links between heart disease and diabetes and explaining his personal connection about the issue being “close to my heart” because his grandfather had Type 2. The website encouraged people to take a risk assessment quiz and, of course, talk to their doctors.

"The earlier people with diabetes understand this risk, the sooner they become engaged and take action to help reduce their chances of heart attacks, strokes or even death," Paul Fonteyne, president and CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, said in a statement. "We're excited to launch 'For Your SweetHeart' to encourage people with Type 2 diabetes to assess their risk through the Heart You Quiz and to speak with their healthcare provider about the link between diabetes and heart disease."

Mike Mason, vice president of Lilly Diabetes in the U.S., added, "People with diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than people without diabetes. Educating the public about this important health crisis is just another component of our responsibility and commitment to delivering the best care for people with Type 2 diabetes.”