Our mission is to provide state-of the-art care to children and adults with type 1 diabetes and to teach our patients how to prevent or delay complications. Our research is devoted to finding prevention, cure, and most effective treatment of diabetes and associated disorders.
Marian Rewers, MD, PhD
Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes
The Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes (BDC) specializes in type 1 diabetes research and care for children and adults. It is one of the largest diabetes institutes in the world. The Center is part of the University of Colorado School of Medicine and has its dedicated building on the Anschutz Medical Campus (map) in Aurora, Colorado. The Center was funded by Marvin Davis, in 1978, and is generously supported by the Children’s Diabetes Foundation (CDF).
clinical researchers, and basic biomedical scientists work at the BDC to
find the most effective treatment, prevention, and cure for type 1
diabetes. The Center provides state-of-the-art diabetes care to 3600
children and 2400 adults with diabetes from the Rocky Mountain Region as
well as receiving national and international referrals. We also provide
inpatient care to patients who are seen at the Children’s Hospital
Colorado with any type of diabetes.
The Center’s faculty teach the medical,
physician assistant, nursing, and dental students on campus. Residents
and endocrinology fellows train at the Center on elective rotations.
Basic science faculty members provide mentorship to pre-doctoral
students and post-doctoral fellows from around the world.
Barbara Davis Keeps the Carousel of Hope Charity Ball Turning
In many ways, Barbara Davis has led a charmed life.
Around the time she graduated college, the then-Barbara
Levine married oil baron Marvin Davis. They settled in Denver, had five
children, and lived in such wealth that they eventually became a model for the
Carrington clan on the hit primetime soap opera “Dynasty.”
After Marvin acquired 20th Century Fox in 1981, Barbara and
her family became Hollywood royalty.
Today, anyone who’s anyone knows the chipper octogenarian
philanthropist, whose Carousel of Hope has raised more than $100 million toward
children’s diabetes research. But Barbara Davis’ extraordinary philanthropic
efforts arose from a challenge inside her own family.
Their youngest daughter, Dana, was diagnosed with Type 1
diabetes at age 7. At first, they didn’t fully understand what she was going
through. It was something that “happened to other people,” Davis recalls. But
as soon as they got a clear picture of the diagnosis, her husband said one
thing: “Fix it.”
Today, Dana Davis leads the Children’s Diabetes Foundation
as its Executive Director.
So there began a long-standing involvement with
childhood-diabetes philanthropy and research. Davis founded the Children’s
Diabetes Foundation in 1977. “One day, Marvin said to me, ‘How would you like
to build a diabetes hospital so we can take care of Dana and all the children
like her?’ And I said, ‘Yes. I would love it.’” Davis says. The result was the
Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes at the University of Colorado,
School of Medicine, in Denver, which now treats more than 7,000 patients.
Davis remains charismatic, charming, and passionate as she
talks about her daughter’s cause, and the illnesses her family has battled.
A year after launching the foundation, she says, the Davises
started the Carousel of Hope Ball at their Palm Springs home — with some help
from Frank Sinatra. “Frank said to Dana one evening at dinner, ‘Tell your mom
to have a big party and I’ll come and sing and your mom can raise money for her
Even today, the Carousel of Hope attracts some of the
biggest names in the industry. Past attendees include Elizabeth Taylor, Sean
Connery, and George Clooney. One Carousel Ball mainstay is former “Tonight
Show” host Jay Leno — an avid Barbara Davis fan. “You could talk to her like a
regular person. Even though her husband was this powerful guy, she never threw
her weight around,” says Leno.
He describes her as a “character” whose naiveté makes her
relatable, likable, and funny. “She would call up and say, ‘Jay, do you know
this group, the Bee Gees? Do you think they would do my dinner party?’ And I
would say, ‘Well, I don’t know if they do dinner parties — they play in
stadiums.’ But when I went to Barbara’s house, there they were, performing
right in the dining room.”
Barbara Davis’ support of the Children’s Diabetes Foundation
$100m Amount raised by the Carousel of Hope Ball
35%+ Percentage of patients at the Barbara Davis Center who are uninsured but receiving care thanks to the CDF
7000+ Patients cared for regularly at the Barbara Davis Center
Music director David Foster says the Davises changed his
life, introducing him to Hollywood’s biggest and brightest. Foster recalls
taking a young Michael Bublé to the Carousel Ball one year. “Michael said it
perfectly: ‘This is bigger than the Oscars.’ You had Warren Beatty, Sofia Loren
— he was shocked that so many people were there to support Barbara,” Foster
As a fellow philanthropist, Jane Fonda, who is “humbled” to
be honored at this year’s Carousel Ball, thought that Davis might discontinue
her philanthropic work after Marvin’s death.
“I really shouldn’t have doubted her, because I realize now
what a formidable human being and fundraiser she is,” Fonda says. “It’s very
hard to be a fundraiser, an activist, and a celebrity the way she has remained,
and still be a parent whose children love her.”
It’s been 11 years since Marvin Davis died, and Barbara
Davis still stands strong. But she admits he was a driving force. “I guess it
all started with Marvin,” she says. “He always cared about illness, sickness,
and people in need. He was a wonderful husband, father — and I’m really glad I
met him because he was my whole life. He was the greatest thing that ever
Variety, Maria Cavassuto, August 4, 2016