Incidence. Prevalence. Risk factors. Outcomes. We hear these words frequently in relation to diabetes and their impact on our world, but are we learning how certain patterns, and trends are associated with the global diabetes epidemic? Are we able to see the big picture, which now totals more than 371 million people living with diabetes worldwide? This is not an easy task given that every nation in the world, regardless of geography or race, is confounded by the rising tide. Professor Jonathan Shaw, Associate Director of Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, talks about the upcoming Public Health and Epidemiology Stream in Melbourne 2013, and how the programme will provide attendees with a greater understanding of the social, ethnic and geographic complexity of diabetes.