On The Practice, Steve Harris is an intense advocate for his clients in the courtroom. And in real life, he's equally committed to speaking out for a good cause — particularly one that has touched him personally.

"My grandmother had diabetes," the Emmy-nominated actor tells TV Guide Online, "but it was watching my uncle battle the disease, seeing what he had to go through while I was still a kid, that brought it home to me. Facing diabetes is something my uncle has to do for the rest of his life. It's an everyday thing."

That realization propelled Harris into an unfamiliar role as a spokesperson for Thera Sense — an innovative painless diabetes glucose monitor. "I never thought I'd be a spokesperson for anything," he admits. "I'm just an actor. But I realized that my visibility on TV would help me to get the message out.

"Thera Sense is a breakthrough," he continues, "because it makes it easy for diabetics to test their glucose level. Up until now, they had to prick a finger and draw blood and it could very painful, which was a good excuse not to do it. A lot of people just couldn't put up with the pain. Now, they have an alternative."

This may not be the last cause for which Harris goes public. As it is, his very existence is somewhat of a public service, he admits. "It's quite rewarding to meet people and see how they relate to your character and how you've touched them," he says. "Especially in my hometown of Chicago, I talk to kids and they listen because they've seen me on television. Hopefully I can tap into that and let them know that wherever they're from, they can be anything they aspire to be. That's something I represent."