Last month, I had the privilege of attending the ADA’s 79th Scientific Sessions in San Francisco. This meeting, geared toward sharing medical advances, results of clinical trials, and best practices, welcomes thousands of attendees each year.
In my role as a patient advocate for DiabetesSisters, I spent some of the time meeting with our diabetes industry partners to determine partnerships for our community. I also had the opportunity to visit different sessions, empowering myself as both a patient and as a patient representative.
One symposium that stood out for me was Making the Numbers Meaningful – The Value of Qualitative Research in Diabetes. Focused on quality work with people with diabetes, it was refreshing to shy away from the science and learn more about outcomes based on support within populations. One such project focused on exercise programs for younger populations and their response. Not surprisingly, the youth all agreed they enjoyed physical activity and would be disappointed to see it eliminated.
Such is the work we do at DiabetesSisters, finding ways to incorporate bite-sized pieces of education into long-term outcomes in all types of diabetes. While learning the sciences behind diabetes, along with other indications to better outcomes for cardiovascular and renal health, it is important to recognize the effects of social programs as well.
Another session I attended – and was captivated by – was Dilemmas with Medical Devices- Right Device, Right Person, Right Place. Moderated by Dr. Anne Peters, the great discussion focused on medical technology and its place in diabetes care. While many of us welcome devices and technology into our diabetes toolbox, this panel spoke about the challenges some face with so much technology. One of the topics discussed was data overload and how it can negatively affect a person living with diabetes with the constant stream of information. It was also enlightening to hear this from professionals and clinicians, who at times encourage the use of technology. I enjoyed listening to this perspective, discussing mental health and anxiety as other aspects of living with diabetes.
The release of many clinical trial results showed encouraging news about the release of different oral medications and how they affect cardiovascular and renal health. Both diaTribe and DiabetesMine have great reports.
As a person living with diabetes, the Scientific Sessions are a source of valuable information. As a patient advocate, they also provide insights, education and study results, all valuable to share with our community. I look forward to next year’s meeting, scheduled to take place in Chicago.