Reflections on WDC 2011

by Cherise Shockley, founder of Diabetes Social Media Advocacy (DSMA)

The World Diabetes Congress 2011 was motivational, inspiring and educational.  I have never left a conference feeling so ready to take action and hungry for change for the global diabetes community.  Prior to the Diabetes Congress, I knew diabetes was a global epidemic but to physically hear stories from Health Care Providers and patients was heartbreaking and a reality check. There are millions of men, women and children that do not have access to the care, insulin, oral medication, meters and education they deserve-this is not just a 3rd world country issue, this is a global issue.  Diabetes is a silent killer that tragically takes the lives of many people from around the world.

The quote by President Mbanya, “Become a part of the people movement”, really struck a chord with me.

The Great Debate
The debate on the commitments made during the UN Summit translating from the global to the local was an interesting debate between President Jean Claude Mbanya and Sir George Alberti.  Mbanya argued that the commitments will translate from the global level to the local and the short term goals of the UN Summit will be met.  Alberti believes the goals will be met but it will not happen overnight and could take a while before the UN declaration will translate into location action.  The diabetes community has to continue to keep the pressure on local and national governments. The quote by President Mbanya, “Become a part of the people movement”, really struck a chord with me.  It’s our Cause, let’s continue to raise awareness and our voices-let’s make sure Diabetes moves from the bottom of the list to the top of the list.

We need and want Health Care Professionals to dance with us.

Meet the expert
Meet the expert session, “Engaging the person in their health care: how to do we help the person who doesn’t seem interested?” by Deborah Christie, PHD-was a huge eye opener. Christie’s session allowed me to glance into the eyes of a Health Care professional.   Health Care Professional filled the room to capacity to learn how they can engage, motivate and empower their patients to manage their diabetes.  Christie taught the audience simple steps in recognizing and helping their patients overcome diabetes burnout. She also explained that using motivational interviewing, basic principles and reflecting and summarizing with their patients will help keep their patients engaged and interested in their health care.  Patients don’t want to dance alone. We need and want Health Care Professionals to dance with us.

The BRIDGES program has provided diabetes education and prevention to many diabetes centers, communities and health centers in low income and middle income countries. 

International Diabetes Federation’s Best Kept Secret
I attended a press conference about the IDF BRIDGES (Bringing Research in Diabetes to Global Environments and Systems) program. The press conference was geared toward finding out how the IDF makes the research count. To my surprise, the press conference turned into an educational experience. The IDF with funding from Lilly began the BRIDGES program in 2007 and has helped fund over 29 projects from around the world.  The BRIDGES program has provided diabetes education and prevention to many diabetes centers, communities and health centers in low income and middle income countries.   

The World Diabetes Congress offered an exciting variety of scientific and meet the expert sessions, symposiums, lectures and debates.  The Dubai Dialogue was a great idea but did not get a lot of exposure. In the future I would like to see more dialogue examining issues and obstacles from other countries.