I’ve just arrived home from Indianapolis where I attended the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) Annual Meeting for 2017. As part of the conference, I managed to attend a tour of Roche Headquarters to see how test strips are made and the Eli Lilly Headquarters, which included a historical tour of the company over the years. On top of that I was able to catch up with friends, make many new ones and learn so much in the diabetes education space in America. I posted day by day updates from the Beta Change Facebook page, but thought I would write something here too
Digital health appears to be at the forefront of healthcare in America, which is awesome. It’s amazing to see them embrace technology and social media within their practices to help people with diabetes. I feel that in Australia we are trying to get there but aren’t quire supported to do so.
The importance of peer support has been a recurring theme in many of the sessions I attended. In line with this, there has been a large focus on diabetes online communities as part of providing support to people with diabetes. It’s extremely heartening to hear diabetes educators recognise and affirm that they need to do more to embrace the online community.
AADE also partnered with Johnson and Johnson Diabetes Institute to teach diabetes educators how to use twitter to engage with people with diabetes and promote their practice, which was led by the amazing Hope Warshaw. Attendees were even provided with handy tips and tricks or summaries from their #JJdiabetesinst tweet chats. I was so inspired and impressed, I hope that it will one day reach ADEA!
Being one of the few Aussies there, it was inevitable that I received a bit of a special treatment. At the same time, I don’t think I’ve ever heard so many Crocodile Dundee jokes in the space of a week. Some questions from inquisitive Americans included “is it true that your toilet flushes the opposite way from ours?” and I’ll never forget the Uber driver who couldn’t understand the concept of time zones.
Equally there was so many things about America that had me giggling and gawking like an idiot, like the overuse of the word ‘y’all’ and squirrels. But I am definitely looking forward to my next American trip where I get to catch up with my tribe and collaborate with peers!
Disclosure: My attendance at AADE17 was partially funded by a grant from Deakin University, as part of my PhD, which covered my flights and some accommodation costs.