Chair of the Public Advisory Council
As Chair of the Public Advisory Council for the BC Endocrine Research Foundation I am proud of this, our first major educational public forum. The Diabetes Symposium, the ensuing video and the already successful “The Puzzle of Perimenopause” video produced by Dr. Jerilynn Prior admirably serve the BCERF educational mandate.
Rafe Mair, the host of the Diabetes Symposium, kept things moving well in this short but exciting 80 minute forum. Dr. Elliott spoke first and presented evidence for the cost of diabetes care over the lifetime of the afflicted and was effective in changing the attitude of some CEO’s in the room.
The Health Association of BC held its Annual Meeting immediately following our Diabetes Symposium and many members attended our Symposium first. Board members and health care administrators need this kind of information to begin to change the system of crisis funding we now enjoy in BC. Discussion about the management of diabetes, which is not curable, centred around lifestyle changes. The complications of diabetes are serious and debilitating for the patient and expensive for the health care system. Management of diabetes is difficult because acuity varies and individuals have to find their own way of managing the disease and balancing their life. Easier said than done!
The high profile and exciting research that Dr. Lakey and his colleagues are doing at the University of Alberta serves to focus public attention on the optimistic future for treatment and cure of diabetes. The cell transplant program is beginning to benefit some high-risk patients and his research team is working towards the day that cells can be cloned and the use of rejection drugs minimized. This research is leading the way in the world and captures the attention of the media which benefits fundraising and raises awareness of a disease which affects over 8% of the population.
Dr. Thompson’s presentation revealed how the intervention of a diabetes nurse, on a regular and ongoing basis, has been shown to support and assist in keeping the average blood sugar levels down, in diabetes patients. Patients were given support and information from an educated, caring professional in the study group. Most Type 2 diabetics are older and have spent a lifetime eating in a certain way so to make changes takes a great deal of effort. Dr. Thompson’s research shows that regular phone contact made a positive impact on patients when compared to the patients receiving regular diabetes care with no phone contacts. I found that Dr. Thompson’s effective treatment approach, a simple phone call, provided a sharp contrast to the high tech islet cell transplant work of Dr. Lakey.
Thank you to Dr. Elliott, Dr. Lakey and Dr. Thompson for the quality of the information and passionate presentations and donating their time. Dr. Lakey kindly donated his honorarium to the Alberta Diabetes Research Foundation. We had a good turnout despite the early hour and the audience was very keen during the question and answer period following the presentations. The educational video we are producing will be made available so that those who could not attend the Symposium can still access the information. The Symposium was an unqualified success and there is discussion about making it an annual event in connection with the Health Association of BC’s AGM in the fall. The people who need to be convinced to fund prevention are politicians, bureaucrats and board members. This was an excellent opportunity to tell the BCERF story.
Thanks as well for the support of:
- Novo Nordisk
- Glaxo Smith Kline