Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation’s Partnership with Virta Health Shows Unprecedented Progress In Reversing the Community’s Type 2 Diabetes Epidemic

Published on 
May 11, 2021
January 25, 2024

With virtual treatment, Pequot patients achieve remarkable success in A1c reduction, weight loss, and insulin de-prescription, as tribe reduces diabetes medication spend by 72% 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Today, Virta Health, the type 2 diabetes reversal leader, announced one-year patient outcomes from its multi-year partnership with Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, with promising results in A1c reduction, weight loss, and insulin de-prescription. Notably, at one year of the Virta Treatment, Pequot patients reduced their insulin prescriptions by 78%. These outcomes also drove significant cost savings—at two years, the tribe’s spend on diabetes-specific medications decreased by 72%. 

Native Americans suffer from the highest rates of type 2 diabetes (T2D) of any ethnic group in the country. According to the CDC, almost 15% of Native American adults have been diagnosed with T2D—double the rate of non-Hispanic white Americans. The Pequot Nation, a federally recognized tribe in Southeastern Connecticut, is no different. 

While other diabetes solutions have failed to make any sizable impact in this population, Pequot Nation members have achieved transformative results over twelve months with Virta, including: 

  • A1c Reduction: 93% of patients reduced estimated A1c (a measure of blood sugar), with an average decrease of 1.7% 
  • Rx Reduction: Patients eliminated 78% of diabetes-specific medications, including a 78% reduction in insulin prescribed after 12 months. At the beginning of the partnership, a 1000-unit vial of insulin lasted 9 days. At day 365, the same vial lasts 63 days
  • Weight Loss: 69% of patients lost more than 5% body weight, which is the benchmark for FDA-approved weight-loss drugs and what is considered clinically significant

Beyond clinical impact, the partnership saved money for the tribe. At two years, the Pequot Nation reduced its total medication spend by 50%, amounting to over $3800 per patient per year. This is due to the treatment’s positive impact on several other conditions, such as high blood pressure, to the point that patients no longer require medications to manage them. The expense of diabetes-specific medications also decreased by nearly three-fourths. 

“By combining ancient wisdom with modern medicine, Virta has helped many of our members achieve health outcomes we never thought possible,” said Dr. Setu Vora, Chief Medical Officer of the Pequot Tribal Nation. “Diabetes has plagued Tribal Nations communities for decades. Now, Virta offers a solution that can truly reverse this epidemic and reduce the massive cost burden of this disease.” 

To effectively treat Pequot Nation patients, Virta health coaches offer personalized recommendations that cater exclusively to the dietary preferences of each member. The company also provides care exclusively through a virtual model that connects patients with specialized diabetes clinicians via the Virta app, regardless of location. 

For a community that has deep connections to cultural and culinary traditions, and also skews more rural, these innovations are key to keeping adherence and retention high. 

Heather Mars-Martins, an employee at Pequot Health Care and a Tribal Elder within the Narragansett Tribal Nation, has been a Virta patient for nearly two years. After a surprising diabetes diagnosis in 2003, Heather nearly immediately started on insulin, with injections up to six times each day. 

Since starting the treatment, Heather has reduced her A1c by over two points and eliminated the fast-acting insulin she’d taken for 17 years. She also dramatically reduced her long-acting insulin dose, going to just one shot per day. Another side effect was more energy—Heather now walks up to 12k steps per day in addition to playing with her young grandchildren. 

“Diabetes runs in my family, and I’d heard my whole life that once you have it, you don’t go back,” said Heather Mars-Martins. “For 17 years, I was on a hamster wheel with my diabetes—adding more and more insulin, but never getting better. With Virta, my blood sugar is finally under control, and with almost no medication. I can do the things I love, without fear of highs and lows. I have my life back.”

Pequot Nation currently offers Virta’s diabetes reversal treatment to its employees and tribal members and will launch Virta’s prediabetes reversal and obesity treatments next month. Beyond Pequot Nation, Virta also works with the Chickasaw Nation, as part of its mission to reverse this epidemic across all of America’s Tribal Nations. 

Mars-Martins certainly hopes so. “Diabetes has been brutal on Native Americans across the U.S., and I’m hopeful that more tribes soon implement Virta to reverse the effects of this horrible disease.”

To learn more about Virta Health and its work with over 100 other large organizations, visit

About Virta Health:

Virta Health helps people reverse type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions. Current approaches manage disease progression through increased medication use and infrequent doctor visits. Virta reverses type 2 diabetes through innovations in technology, nutrition science, and continuous remote care from physicians and behavioral experts. In clinical studies, 94% of patients reduce or eliminate insulin use, and weight-loss exceeds FDA benchmarks by 150%. Virta works with the largest health plans, employers, and government organizations and puts 100% of its fees at risk based on clinical and financial outcomes. To learn more about how Virta is transforming lives by reversing type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases, visit or follow us on Twitter @virtahealth.

About the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation:

The Mashantucket (Western) Pequot Tribal Nation is a federally recognized Indian tribe located at one of America’s oldest Indian reservations, Mashantucket, in Southeastern Connecticut.  As pioneers of the Indian Gaming casino industry, the history of the Mashantucket Pequots reveals one of America’s greatest come-back stories, featured at the Tribe’s world renowned Mashantucket Pequot Museum. Today, the Tribe owns and operates one of the largest Integrated Resort Casino destinations in North America, Foxwoods Resort Casino, along with a variety of complementary businesses including a world-class golf course, luxury spa, Pequot Pharmaceutical Network, and Pequot Plus Health Benefit Services.  As one of Connecticut’s highest revenue contributors and largest employers, the Mashantucket Pequots have provided the state more than $4 billion in slot revenue through a first-of-its-kind agreement, established in 1993.  Likewise, the Tribe has contributed hundreds of millions in donations and sponsorships for the benefit of communities and tribes in need, locally and throughout the U.S.

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