Mini Postcards from AADE in Houston

Last month, Beta Change were lucky to receive sponsorship from Roche Diabetes Care and AADE to have a booth in the inaugural Peer Support Communities Corner at the 2019 AADE conference in Houston, Texas. We were incredibly humbled to be alongside superstars like We Are DiabetesCollege Diabetes NetworkJust a Little Suga’Diabetes SistersDiaTribeChildren with DiabetesDiabulimia HelplineDiabetesMine and Tidepool. Throughout the conference, we had many visitors ranging from industry members, clinicians and other diabetes advocates. It was great to see so much enthusiasm and interest from a variety of people from different backgrounds on the importance of peer support. 

While we were there, we managed to get the word about Beta Change out through our flyers. In return, we asked visitors to write us some words of wisdom or advice for other people with diabetes and diabetes advocates around the world. Check out our slideshow below to see some of the responses we received and thank you to everyone who participated!

Once again, thank you to Roche Diabetes Care and AADE for looking after us and providing us with this opportunity! 


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. 

Diabetes Tech Updates from the American Diabetes Association 77th Scientific Sessions

Beta Change co-founder, Pei Yan, recently visited San Diego – and her visit coincided with the American Diabetes Association’s 77th Scientific Sessions (attended by fellow Beta Change co-founder Robert Brooks). Here she shares her top tech takeaways – try saying that ten times fast! – of the world’s biggest diabetes conference.

We checked out Johnson & Johnson’s brand-new OneTouch product: the OneTouch Via. It is a thin, tubeless, on-demand insulin delivery system. There is a trigger mechanism by each side of the patch and each simultaneous click delivers 2 units of insulin. Pretty sleek and no hassle of dangling tubing. The only downside is that it only delivers exactly 2 units of insulin per click, so sorry, no 1 or half units doses!

After clinical trials of the highly anticipated 670G system by Medtronic, the insulin pump is officially in the U.S. market. Users of the 630G system will be first in line for an upgrade. The 670G comes with an algorithm (when used with the Guardian 3 sensor) that detects glucose patterns of the user throughout the day and then automatically suspends and resumes or adjusts basal delivery accordingly. The display interface is quite different when compared to the 630G/ 640G system with its coloured shield display.

Also available at the Medtronic booth was the improved i-port system for MDIs. The i-port Advance system comes with an integrated inserter (similar to their Mio infusion set) which makes inserting the i-port much easier. The product was launched in 2014 (no wonder I find the inserter familiar – we had the chance to trial it at the Singapore children’s diabetes camp two years ago).

OpenAPS refers to Open Artificial Pancreas System, such as Nightscout. It provides a platform for communication and information for anyone with compatible medical devices who is willing to build their own basic artificial pancreas system. It is quite interesting to see the trend of somebody’s blood glucose on the computer’s screen. Not only does it show the most recent trend, but it also shows the trend of the past 72 hours.

Other interesting new technologies showcased at the ADA conference include a new receiver from Dexcom and a soon to be launched device by Omnipod, as reported by diaTribe.

I also had the opportunity to meet with many people whom I have been wanting to meet face to face. On a somewhat somber note, I was invited to join in the informal farewell toast for Diabetes Hands Foundation as they close their operations and are absorbed by Beyond Type 1.

I wished I could have stayed longer to meet more people, but unfortunately I had other travel plans.

Catch up on more tech news and diabetes community updates on Twitter by using the hashtag #2017ADA.

Edited post; republished with permission from Pei Yan’s blog.