We’ve been hard at work perfecting our new diabetes clinical trials smart search tool, and have finally had some time to reflect on the incredible experience we had at the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions last month. We were blown away by the research presented, the connections we made, and the dedication we saw to improving the lives of those living with diabetes.
Since we’re already missing David Letterman, we’d like to share an ADA top ten. Here are the top ten things we found remarkable about ADA:
- The ADA’s new CEO, Kevin Hagan, was fantastic at the conference. We’ve rarely seen a chief executive be so approachable and responsive. We so appreciate that when we reached out, he got back to us in minutes. We look forward to continuing to see him lead by example.
- We had the pleasure of screening the PBS documentary Journey to a Miracle: Freedom from Insulin, an amazing story of how researchers all over the world came together to find the genetic mechanism for monogenic diabetes, a type of diabetes caused by a mutation in a single gene. It’s estimated that about half a million people fall into this category and may unnecessarily be receiving insulin. What a wonderful example of what can happen when patients and researchers come together with a shared goal.
- The level of online engagement we saw around ADA was phenomenal. The hashtag #2015ADA reached about 50 million people, and the engagement levels were impressive. We loved hearing from our friends at Diabetes News, Diabetes Mine, and Diatribe News, and were especially impressed by the advocates who came out en masse to share news from the conference. Special shout out to some frequent tweeters: @insulinnation, @KellyRawlings, @joyclee, and @CureT1Diabetes.
- The ADA crowd-sourced inspiration through a board on which attendees could write what they’re hopeful for in the future of diabetes care and management. We saw some great suggestions, like oral insulin, better screening and diagnosis, and beta cell regeneration. We’re so glad to see this community thinking big and aiming high!
- We attended a presentation from Amy Tenderich of Diabetes Mine about the role of social media in diabetes. Amy pointed out that the diabetes online community is a great place to connect, share, commiserate, motivate, and spread awareness. We couldn’t agree more, and will be watching out for more research on the relationship between online patient engagement and health outcomes.
- The packed house at the Afrezza inhalable insulin product education session was a sign of how excited the community is about this new method of treatment. Hopes are high that the fact that Afrezza mimics the way the body uses insulin will allow for more effective blood sugar control – and that replacing injectables will improve daily life for those living with diabetes. The promise of this product motivates us to keep helping drive more and better diabetes research.
- We loved seeing David Marrero, the ADA’s President of Health Care and Education, on stage declaring that, “we must address diabetes from the patient point of view.” What a powerful message to share with this those of us attending ADA, and beyond. We were thrilled to see patients being elevated at ADA.
- At the #wearenotwaiting data event, we heard from companies like Tidepool and Livongo Health, who are transforming diabetes care by facilitating data sharing. We believe these companies are well on their way to addressing the innovation bottleneck that spurred the #wearenotwaiting movement.
- On the topic of #wearenotwaiting, we were also inspired by the individuals advocating for change in diabetes research. The advocates onsite were loud, proud, and easy to cheer on. One of our favorites was Anna McCollister-Slipp, the cofounder of Galileo Analytics, who spoke eloquently on the need for change in the way we treat data around diabetes research.
- Lastly, kudos to the ADA for one of the most phenomenally well-organized events we’ve ever attended. The organization hosted 18,000 attendees and each session, presentation, and discussion was given full attention and run incredibly smoothly. Thanks for making this conference a pleasure to attend!
We’re already looking forward to attending next year. In the meantime, if you’re interested in diabetes research and patient empowerment, stay tuned for news on our new simple search tool that uses cutting-edge technology to scan all open diabetes trials in the US and generate personalized, easy-to-understand clinical trial options.