Message from the Co-Scientific Leads


Last month, Diabetes Action Canada gathered for our Annual Workshop.  Since our Patient Partners and Researchers come from across Canada, it was exciting to connect face-to-face and experience the enthusiasm and commitment of our teams to accomplish research outcomes with impact for those living with diabetes. This year our Workshop theme was: “Enabling Effective Care Paths for People Living with Diabetes”. The design of the 2018 Annual Workshop was to address the following question: Based on progress to date, will the projects underway either in planning or implementation stages provide the evidence for design and scale up of care paths for prevention of diabetes and its related complications? The Goal Group leads, including Patient Partners, prepared for discussion with all the participants at the Workshop in breakout sessions leading to the following advice about their project deliverables and impact. This year’s Workshop provided a very interactive, intensive, opportunity to gather information on how we can improve patient experience, scale-up effective community-based programs, improve self-management and sustainability planning.  In this month’s Newsletter we will have a more detailed account of the day and for those who follow us on Twitter, checkout #DACWorkshop2018 for highlights of the event.

During the Annual Workshop, we proposed a new organizational structure for Diabetes Action Canada that replaced the term Goal Groups with either Goal-Directed Programs or Enabling Programs.  Specific Research Goal-Directed Programs are those that directly address complications with diabetes, including those in vulnerable populations.  These include: Diabetic Retinopathy Screening, Indigenous Peoples Health, Innovations in Type-1 Diabetes, Digital Health, Foot Care to Prevent Amputations, Aging, Community and Population Health.  Enabling Programs provide vital support and services to the Research Goal-Directed Programs to accomplish their research objectives in a truly patient-oriented research fashion.  These include Patient Engagement, Training and Mentoring, Knowledge Translation, Sex and Gender.

You may have noticed in the above list of Goal-Directed Programs a new addition to our research platform.  In this Newsletter, we introduce a new collaboration between Diabetes Action Canada and the McMaster University School of Nursing Aging, Community and Health Research Unit (ACHRU) co-led by Drs. Maureen Markle-Reid, Jenny Ploeg and Ruta Valaitis to launch a new Goal-Directed Program – Aging, Community and Population Health.  The goal of this Program is to work together with older adults with multiple chronic conditions and their family caregivers to promote self-management and improved outcomes.  This group was recently successful in securing funding to scale their previous successful research through the CIHR Operating Grant: SPOR PIHCI Network Programmatic Grants with Diabetes Action Canada as a funding partner.

In this Newsletter you will also read about three very exciting announcements from our research teams.   First, our National Diabetes Repository has been launched and is ready to accept data usage requests for research.  The repository has data available from the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN) from Ontario and Alberta, with additional Provinces coming shortly.   Second, we are delighted about the results of the recent JDRF/CIHR innovative clinical trials competition. Congratulations to Diabetes Action Canada Dr. Gillian Booth and Dr. Remi Rhabasa-Lhoret and their research teams on their successful applications investigating patient-informed interventions in Type-1 Diabetes. Third, in collaboration with our Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Goal Group, we have established a new collaboration with the University of Montreal, the Montreal Polytechnique, and the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms to develop algorithms using advanced technology to read retinal fundus photo images and optical coherence tomography (OCT) images for comprehensive diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy and other eye disease. This is an important step toward developing a national diabetic retinopathy screening program.

We will close by wishing everyone a great summer! With the weather (finally) warming up, we hope you get the opportunity to take some time and recuperate after a very productive academic year.







Gary Lewis                                                      Jean-Pierre Després

Stay updated with News and Events