Diabetes Action Canada is a catalyst research consortium focused on scaling-up effective health care solutions that directly improve outcomes for people living with diabetes. We are addressing the most important challenges articulated by individuals with experiential knowledge of the key barriers to both prevention and early treatment of complications associated with both Type 1 and 2 diabetes. Collaborative relationships with government policy makers are necessary to implement and sustain interventions for the prevention and treatment of diabetes complications. Currently, Diabetes Action Canada is working in many provinces to accomplish these goals.
In British Columbia:
Our Diabetic Retinopathy Goal Group, co-led by David Maberley, is establishing pragmatic evaluation of two new screening sites, one in the remote Bella Bella Heiltsuk First Nation community and one in east side downtown Vancouver. These will be highly valuable sites for modeling effective community-based diabetic retinopathy screening. Using new software for retina image data capture and transfer technology, provided by Secure Diagnostic Imaging, this group aims to automate image analysis to improve efficiency and segmentation of patients into higher and lower risk for treatment and follow up by primary or specialist care team.
Our Health Informatics Goal Group, Co-Investigators Drs. Donna Manca and Neil Drummond are leading the development of a chronic disease repository available to external researchers using regional Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN) data. This complements the efforts of our Ontario based CPCSSN/University of Toronto Practice-Based Research Network (UTOPIAN) Diabetes Repository project and allows for expanded identification of patients with diabetes in multiple provinces. The ultimate goal of this repository is to identify people living in Canada with diabetes, engage these patients to participate in Clinical Trials and/or monitor interventions thereby preventing complications. With funding from the Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit, Dr. Drummond and colleagues at CPCSSN have designed an interactive diabetes dashboard of analytics for primary care practice that reports on important diabetes-relevant parameters including risk factors and outcomes. This will be an important tool for clinicians and population health researchers to track primary care interventions to improve outcomes.
Our Indigenous Health Goal Group, co-led by Dr. Jon McGavock, in collaboration with the Manitoba SPOR Support Unit and the SPOR Network in Chronic Disease (Can-SOLVE-CKD) continues to lead the Diabetes Research Envisioned and Accomplished in Manitoba (DREAM). This team continues to build a successful community based program, leading the way in Patient-Oriented Research with patient and Indigenous advisory groups. DREAM also collaborates with the National Aboriginal Diabetes Association, the Diabetes Integration Project (MN), the Indigenous Diabetes Health Circle (ON), and other Indigenous stakeholder groups to enable Indigenous People living with culturally sensitive experiences effective engagement strategies. This group has established a very effective Aboriginal Youth Mentorship Program (AYMP) that is now rippling out beyond the borders of Manitoba into other provinces. The AYMP program has proven that by empowering youth to improve self-esteem, they can reduce their risk of chronic disease, including T2D, following an Aboriginal lifestyle enabling wellness.
Our Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Goal Group, co-led by Dr. Michael Brent, is working in collaboration with the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) and the Local Health Integrated Networks (LHINs) across Ontario to scale-up retinopathy screening in every LHIN. By deploying specialized retinal imaging equipment with expert technologists into inner city and remote communities with high rates of diabetes, this group has demonstrated the feasibility of this methodology and the efficacy of diagnosing previously undetected sight-threatening disease. Their goal is to establish comprehensive screening across each province working with telemedicine organizations and regional health authorities, demonstrating improved patient outcomes and cost effectiveness.
Diabetes Action Canada, in collaboration with the Ontario SPOR Network in Primary and Integrated Healthcare Innovation – BeACCoN (Better Access for Care and Complex Needs), is identifying how to scale-up effective community-based primary care interventions to prevent diabetes complications. The goal is to identify the most vulnerable in communities and those in the most urgent need of improved access to customized care. Our Knowledge Translation Goal Group also collaborates with BeACCoN and the McMaster University Aging, Community and Health Research Unit, on scaling-up community-based interventions for seniors with Type 2 Diabetes and multiple chronic conditions, ultimately keeping this group out of acute care and with improved long-term outcomes.
Ongoing collaborations with Ontario SPOR Support Unit Centres (jointly funded by CIHR and MOHLTC) to facilitate Diabetes Action Canada Network activity:
- The Women’s XChange, under the leadership of Dr. Paula Rochon is leading our Sex and Gender Goal Group, working closely with our other Goal Groups to ensure that not only sex and gender, but also other equity issues are considered during the planning and design of their projects and the planned evaluation of outcomes.
- The Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) is working collaboratively with our Health Informatics Goal Group to develop the Diabetes Repository, providing valuable guidance, consultation and support in using primary care data for this repository.
Our Training and Mentoring Goal Group, co-led by André Carpentier, continues to work in collaboration with Québec Cardiometabolic Health, Diabetes and Obesity Research Network (CMDO), to run the CMDO Winter Workshop. This four-day interactive workshop developed for PhD students, postdoctoral fellows, residents and research professionals examines translational research and how it integrated into the themes of the CMDO Network; Cardiometabolic Health, Diabetes, Obesity and Patient-Oriented Research. This program also integrates CMDO’s four research areas: Basic research and pre-clinical, Nutrition, physical activity and human pathophysiology; Life habits, risk factors and population interventions throughout life cycles and; Organization of health care, use and sharing of knowledge.
Our Knowledge Translation Goal Group, co-led by France Légaré, and in collaboration with Ms. Guay-Bélanger, the coordinator of the Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN): Laboratory for the Implementation of Shared Decision-Making in Primary Care at Laval University, is developing strategies for Diabetes Action Canada project leads to collaborate with PBRNs across Québec and beyond including the North American PBRN Meta-Larc (Meta-network Learning and Research Centre) funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services). The purpose is to access evidence and methods to inform Diabetes Action Canada investigators and patient advisors about potential models of care in the primary care settings in Canada for Quadruple Aim outcomes (improve: patient experience; population outcomes; health professional experience; health system cost).
As Diabetes Action Canada evolves, future collaborations with government, including its agencies and policy makers, are essential for us to achieve our Mission and Quadruple Aim goals (to improve patient experience, population outcomes, health professional experience and health system cost).