Message from the Co-Scientific Leads – Our Goal Groups in Action
It is an exciting time to be part of Diabetes Action Canada. We have now been in operation for almost a year and a half and already we are starting to see meaningful contributions to improving the lives of those living with diabetes. So far we have organized ourselves into eight Goal Groups, with four of these group being cross-cutting – Patient Engagement, Training and Mentoring, Knowledge Translation, Sex and Gender and four of these groups addressing an acute concern among our patient partners with diabetes – Diabetic Retinopathy, Indigenous Health, Innovations in Type-1 Diabetes, Health Informatics. We are also thrilled to introduce a newly formed ninth goal group in Foot Care and Prevention of Lower Extremity Amputation. This group will be tailoring its goals and objectives in the very near future and will bring great value to our Network, as amputation is a significant concern raised by our Indigenous Circle and Collective Patient Circle. It is quite gratifying that our Goal Group projects are informed by patients with experiential knowledge to optimize impact. We are proud that all the parts of our Network are working together focused on improving the lives of those living with diabetes.
Diabetes Action Canada is truly asserting itself as a catalytic research consortium that has the capacity to scale-up effective health-care solutions. We have ongoing fruitful partnerships with Diabetes Canada and JDRF and in the following Newsletter you will read about how Diabetes Action Canada was involved in both the CIHR/JDRF innovative clinical trials multi-year operating grant applications and the Diabetes Canada Professional Conference. Diabetes Action Canada is really starting to produce results and over the next couple of months, we will be implementing a new communications plan to better inform our community and patients of all our activities. Also, look out for us on Twitter and LinkedIn for more frequent news items and updates!
Also featured in this newsletter is the incredible work of our Training and Mentoring Goal Group, led by André Carpentier, Mathieu Bélanger, Aurel Schofield and Michelle Murray. This Goal Group aims to strengthen patient-oriented research capacity in Canada for diabetes and its related complications. They develop and organize training and mentoring opportunities for graduate students (MSc and PhD), postdoctoral fellows and health professionals to develop the next generation of patient-oriented researchers. Already this group has run numerous training sessions (in French and English) across Canada and we are excited to announce a major training event to be held in Toronto on May 3, 2018, immediately prior to our Annual Workshop, May 4 and 5. Our Training and Mentoring Goal Group engages patients as facilitators in these training sessions. The aim is to successfully build teams of patients and researchers to ‘humanize’ diabetes and guide researchers towards outcomes that directly address the concerns of patients. This group also actively collaborates with other SPOR Networks to enhance capacity building and design new approaches to teaching and learning. We encourage you to read this feature for a more complete picture of our training and mentoring initiatives.
We will close by wishing everyone a Happy Holiday season. 2018 promises to be a remarkable time for Diabetes Action Canada as we move forward rapidly to realize our vision and mission.
Gary Lewis and Jean-Pierre Déspres