A health coalition in Camden won a $3.45 million grant Thursday to strengthen diabetes care in a city where rates far exceed the national average, adding to medical costs and detracting from residents’ quality of life. The grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is intended to enhance and deepen a three-year-old, citywide diabetes collaborative, officials said. Most of the money will go to two or three primary-care practices, expected to be chosen next month. It will allow them to individualize care by, for example, hiring nurse coordinators to track diabetics, and peer educators to help patients navigate the health-care system.

“We’re going to have the resources that people up until now only dreamed of,” said Steven Kaufman, a Cooper University Hospital diabetes specialist and staff endocrinologist for the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers. The award, to be spread over five years, is the largest single grant for the coalition, a nonprofit with two dozen employees that was founded several years ago by Jeffrey Brenner, a family physician who sought to improve health care in the city.

For Camden diabetics, the funding will mean access to personalized resources they never had before, said Mark DiFilippo, who managed the coalition’s diabetes collaborative until taking on other duties recently.

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