The European Association for the Study of Diabetes gathered in Stockholm, Sweden September 19-23 and Children with Diabetes’s founder and president, Jeff Hitchcock, and Clinical Director Marissa Town, attended and participated in a variety of events. Here’s a quick peek at what CWD did throughout the EASD meeting.
As part of the #DeDoc° symposium, Jeff Hitchcock shared with EASD attendees how CWD pivoted during Covid to keep families and people with diabetes connected virtually during Covid. From the first virtual Friends for Life to Screenside Chats, more educational content, and opportunities to connect virtually helped bridge the gap throughout the days of lockdown.
Jeff shared the need for personal connection and the challenge with continuing to provide virtual options while also ensuring the in-person Friends for Life conferences continued to fill the needs of the diabetes community. The big takeaway that he wanted those in the audience to remember was to “remember the why,” which for him, was his daughter’s own diabetes diagnosis and his goal to ensure she could live a normal, healthy life. Jeff closed the talk with a photo of her with her children, emphasizing the personal aspect of diabetes as the most important part of diabetes management.
#DeDoc° has grown a lot throughout the last few years, despite the challenges of the pandemic, and continues to ensure that the voice of the people living with diabetes and their families is ever present at the international conferences for healthcare providers. Their slogan, as seen in the photo, is “Nothing About Us Without Us” and CWD has been happy to help them fulfill their goals.
On Wednesday, aside from walking the exhibit hall, meeting old friends and new, Marissa spoke on a panel with the topic, “Intended self-injury and suicide amongst people with diabetes: tackling this public health challenge.” The topic of intended self-injury and suicide has become a more recent topic of discussion among healthcare providers due to the increase in suicide in the general population. Marissa has been working as part of the RESCUE Collaborative since 2020 and brings both her personal experience living with Type 1 Diabetes and her professional experience as a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist to the collaborative.
Marissa spoke with Dr. Katharine Barnard-Kelly, a diabetes psychologist based in the U.K., who truly embodies the slogan from #DeDoc° by ensuring someone with diabetes is included on the speaker panel for discussing this sensitive and important topic. CWD held its first session at Friends for Life Orlando 2022 about suicidality and diabetes, and the room was packed, standing room only, further emphasizing the needs of the community to have a safe space to discuss the realities and challenges with diabetes and mental health.
On Thursday, Marissa met with diabetes nurses in Stockholm and got a tour of their clinic. She worked with diabetes nurse, Anna Lindholm-Olinder, as part of the education working group for updating the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD) diabetes guidelines (to be published soon).
Anna shared the resources that they use in their clinic and introduced Marissa to the play therapists, who work alongside the diabetes nurses to provide developmentally appropriate and play-based education to children and families diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
On Thursday evening, Jeff and Marissa hosted the fourth in a four-part series of events for LifeScan looking at the relationship between technology and diabetes. It was a wonderful culmination of the other three events and was facilitated by CWD Board Member and Diabetologist Dr. George Grunberger.
The dinner included healthcare providers – physicians, psychologists, as well as certified diabetes care and education specialists – and members of the diabetes community to ensure that all perspectives were included.
Many of the attendees lingered on after the event was finished. Afterwards, most were happy to be a part of an event where their voice and perspective was heard with hopes of positively impacting people living with diabetes.
This was CWD’s last medical conference for the year, and it was a wonderful experience all around. There have been some great summary write-ups from Diatribe that discuss the many topics that were presented at EASD, if you’re looking for more information on sessions and presentations.
Now, we get to focus on Friends for Life College Park 2022, which is just around the corner. Hope to see you there!
Written by Marissa Town, RN, BSN, CDCES