The Cosmopolitan International Diabetes Center opened the door to its first patient in 1984. The founder and longtime director of the center, Dr. Thomas Burns, gives credit to the Cosmopolitan International organization and to University of Missouri officials for having the foresight 20 years ago to form a partnership in order to achieve the goal of opening a diabetes center. Back in the 1970s, the Cosmopolitans, a private, philanthropic organization with 3,500 members worldwide, decided to make a campaign against diabetes mellitus their principal challenge. The group realized that its efforts might be more effective if it focused on the single project of establishing a diabetes center at the University of Missouri. In 1976, Dr. Thomas Burns accepted the directorship of the center. He worked tirelessly with the Cosmopolitans and MU officials, who agreed that the former would raise funds for the construction of a facility, while the latter would provide funding for operating expenses. The Cosmopolitans raised more than $1 million for the building and equipping of the center.
The center has vigorously pursued its three objectives: 1) to provide state-of-the-art care to a large population of people with diabetes, 2) to educate patients and health care professionals about the disease, and 3) to conduct basic and clinical research. Cosmopolitan International and the University of Missouri have continued to support the center's efforts, and have been awarded certification as a "Recognized Diabetes Education Program" by the American Diabetes Association. Dr. Burns retired in 1992, but he remains an active, integral part of the center's success.
In June, 1999, Thomas W. Burns, MD, MACP, was recognized by the American Diabetes Association for his outstanding contributions to the field of diabetes.
Fundraising efforts continue to support the center's work. The Cosmopolitans continue to be generous with their support of the Diabetes Center through funding of special projects. Many gifts are donated in memory of diabetes patients to help further the work done in the fight against the disease. If you are interested in donating to the center, you may contact F. Elaine Rehmer at (573) 882-2273 or by writing her at the Cosmopolitan International Diabetes Center, One Hospital Drive, Columbia, MO 65212.