A couple of weeks have flown by since the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) Annual Meeting. I’ve been taking this time to reflect on the busy few days that was AADE17, which was filled with many new learnings and plenty of networking. Here are my main summary points from the conference. Don’t forget to check out our Facebook page for my daily takeaways from each day at the conference.

1. Affordability and Accessibility
#Access4all has been a huge movement over the past few years with the rising cost of insulin. But I realised that we can and should actually break this down to accessibility and affordability. Access is the first barrier predominantly faced by developing countries. Without access, it doesn’t matter how much money you have, getting insulin is difficult. The other problem that we see, especially in countries like the United States, is insulin affordability, which draws a real divide between the wealthy and the poor. However, access is there, whether it be through emergency departments, free clinics or cheaper varieties of insulin. 

Both are difficult challenges to tackle and I believe that part of the solution is to work closely with industry, government, healthcare professionals and people with diabetes to drive change, which brings us nicely to our next point.

2. Collaborative approach to change
Part of our mission at Beta Change to bring industry, healthcare professionals, researchers, policy makers and people with diabetes together to create change within and across diabetes communities. For the past year, we have been trying to find the right channels to reach out to other stakeholders. From many of the sessions, it sounds like they’re willing to collaborate too. So we’re doubling our efforts to make this happen. It is crucial that the voices of people who are passionate to create change in the global diabetes community are heard. In time, we hope that your voice and your passion can lead to a partnership with Beta Change. If you’re interested, feel free to drop us a line, we’d love to chat!

3. The importance of mentorship 
One of the special moments of flying across the world for AADE to share my research was the opportunity to meet many of my international diabetes friends who also attended the conference. Throughout the conference, I was lucky to be provided with very wise words, guidance and encouragement personally and professionally. And I thought “imagine what budding diabetes advocates could do with such inspiring advice and networks”, which reinforces our goal at Beta Change to develop a mentorship program so that potential leaders can have the same support and resources to achieve their advocacy efforts. 

So there you have it! Those are my takeaways from AADE17. Check out the #AADE17 on Twitter for more conversations.

Disclosure: My attendance at AADE17 was partially funded by a grant from Deakin University, Australia, as part of my PhD program and for a poster presentation on my research. The grant covered my flights and some accommodation costs. 

Published by

Ashley Ng

Pancreatically challenged, diabetes advocate, PhD student and dietitian - working to make positive changes within the diabetes community and healthcare setting. Although diagnosed at age of 19 with T2DM, the type of diabetes I have is under constant debate. Finally pumping as of March 2014.

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