Diabetes Action Canada is now completing its first year of intensive planning and implementing the first stage of our patient-oriented research endeavours. Using our patients’ first lens our investigators are identifying major gaps in health care across Canada for individuals living with diabetes. Our core activities focus on establishing the most effective ways to identify those at risk and prevent blindness, amputations, cardiovascular and kidney disease. For individuals living with Type 1 diabetes (T1D), the most successful methods of improving glucose control is through technology-assisted glucose sensing and insulin delivery. This requires shared-decision making between the patient and a medical expert, generally located in tertiary referral clinical sites. For individuals living with Type 2 diabetes (T2D), who also suffer from multiple chronic conditions, community-based support is required from a professional team who can provide customized interventions to holistically address all health determinants. These approaches are supported by a high level of evidence in keeping with the Canadian and American diabetes guidelines.
As the first step in establishing these proven interventions to prevent diabetes complications, we must first identify individuals who are at risk. To this end, our Health Informatics group is now working on establishing a diabetes repository in which individuals with diabetes can be registered for the purpose of connecting with their provincial health systems. Frank Sullivan and Michelle Greiver, the group leads, describe this approach and the potential impact on identifying individuals with diabetes and their current health status. Concurrently, Diabetes Action Canada will be launching specific projects to improve interventions for individuals with both T1D and T2D. We feature one of our patient representatives, Doug Mumford, who has lived with T1D for 49 years and attests to the successful use of technology-assisted insulin treatment.
The second step is to increase the capacity of our patient-oriented research workforce in Canada to enable a continual learning environment where improvements in care for individuals living with diabetes is supported by best evidence. Our Training and Mentoring Group, under the leadership of Mathieu Bélanger and André Carpentier, has established a comprehensive program for graduate students, health professional students and post-doctoral students engaged in diabetes research. We are most grateful to Diabetes Canada (formerly the Canadian Diabetes Association) for their generous support in partnering with Diabetes Action Canada to establish new joint postdoctoral fellowships in patient-oriented research commencing in 2017.
We look forward to accelerating all of our endeavours in 2017-18 that will be kicked off at our Annual Workshop in May where all of our patient representatives, investigators and stakeholder representatives will meet to evaluate progress to date and commit to next year’s strategic goals.