Your 2016 Diabetes Conference Calendar!

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After not being able to find a single source for diabetes events and conferences that might be of interest for those who have diabetes and/or advocate for diabetes, I decided to create one. Begun in 2014, it’s become a popular rundown for all diabetes conferences and events that you might be interested in attending.

Ta-da.

Please note that this is U.S.-centric, as I currently live in the United States. (Most of me. My pancreas is currently on the lam somewhere where it cannot be extradited.) However, I have added some international conferences. Most of these can be attended by the hoi polloi, but some do require a medical designation/degree (although a press pass may provide entry). These are regional or national shindigs, not local groups or walks. 

If there is one that I have missed, please notify me at theperfectd [at] gmail [dot] com so I can add it. I will be updating this calendar throughout the year so I suggest you bookmark this page now. (Go ahead. I’ll wait.) 

Click on the title of the conference/event for the website link/additional information.


 

Want to help your fellow people impacted by diabetes by sharing this page on Twitter?

Simply click the birdie and let it automatically tweet this link for you.

Because you rock. 

Tweet: Your 2016 #Diabetes Conference Calendar is here: http://ctt.ec/H5uBi+ thanks to @theperfectdblog - bookmark it! #doc


 

 

January

52nd Annual Clinical Diabetes and Endocrinology Conference (National Jewish Health) January 23 – 26, 2016 – Snowmass, CO

This conference is primarily for endocrinologists, primary care physicians, and other health care professionals with an interest in diabetes, endocrinology and metabolism. That being said, perhaps you want to mention it to YOUR healthcare team?

February

TCOYD (Taking Control of Your Diabetes) February 20, 2016 – Anchorage, AK

TCOYD is a one-day program with tracks for both Type 1 and Type 2 individuals (and their friends and family, of course). Those who attend will have opportunities to learn about the latest tools, tips, techniques, and technology to help live healthier lives with diabetes. What I love about this program is that it was founded and is run by physicians who have intimate knowledge of diabetes; they have the disease! Many of the speakers also have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, so it’s not as if it’s a “do as I say and not as I do, because I don’t have a clue” program. If you have one coming to your area, you’re fortunate!

March

63rd Annual Advanced Postgraduate Course (ADA) March 4 – 6, 2016-  San Francisco, CA

A medical conference much like other scientific sessions, leading diabetes experts will give presentations on the latest in diabetes research and care, with small networking sessions thrown in for good measure. Targeted primarily for physicians, physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, dietitians, pharmacists, psychologists, certified diabetes educators, and other health care professionals who care for patients with diabetes and who manage the complications related to this disease.

TCOYD (Taking Control of Your Diabetes) March 5, 2016 – Sacramento, CA 

TCOYD is a one-day program with tracks for both Type 1 and Type 2 individuals (and their friends and family, of course). Those who attend will have opportunities to learn about the latest tools, tips, techniques, and technology to help live healthier lives with diabetes. What I love about this program is that it was founded and is run by physicians who have intimate knowledge of diabetes; they have the disease! Many of the speakers also have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, so it’s not as if it’s a “do as I say and not as I do, because I don’t have a clue” program. If you have one coming to your area, you’re fortunate!

15TH Annual Rachel Levine Diabetes & Obesity Symposium March 6 – 9, 2016 – Long Beach, CA

Made possible by the Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, held in association with the Endocrine Society annual meeting and T1D Exchange. This is the meeting that I wish I could attend, because it covers some amazing topics, including “Lowering the Barrier of Entry and Long-Term Commitment of Pharma in Type 1 Diabetes” and Diabetes Technology (a topic near and dear to many of our hearts!).

The Diabetes UnConference March 10 – 13, 2016 – Las Vegas, NV

The first peer-to-peer idea exchange and support conference for all adults with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Unlike other conferences geared to patients, this conference has no keynotes or research/expert presentations; just discussions facilitated by those with diabetes about topics that may be difficult to have with people who don’t have diabetes!

The Diabetes Collective Pre-UnConference Sessions March 11, 2016 – Las Vegas, NV

Free and open to the general public, sessions will include Dr. Stephen Ponder’s Sugar Surfing, iLet information session, T1D and Pregnancy, policy advocacy, and more. Registration is required. This is for all adults impacted by diabetes. Childcare is not provided.

Bay Area Diabetes Summit March 13th, 2016 – San Francisco, CA

The Bay Area Diabetes Summit is a collaborative effort of medical providers, community organizations, and medical institutions throughout the Bay Area.

The Summit is open to all adults with T1D and their spouses, friends, and significant others, parents, caregivers, and family members of children with T1D. Children with T1D and their siblings can register for a Kids Camp offered by DYF counselors and staff.

April

ENDO 2016 (Endocrine Society) April 1 – 4, 2016 – Boston, MA

Remember that endocrinology is not just about diabetes; it’s about the entire endocrine system. While the annual conference does have diabetes sessions, it’s not the primary focus. There are a few pre-conference sessions focusing on diabetes and a few sessions during the conference.

Carb DM’s 4th Annual Mother-Daughter Weekend April 1-3, 2016 – Dublin, CA

This amazing event is for preteen/teen girls with T1D and their moms. This weekend focuses on T1D from a female perspective and addresses the female cycle from puberty to pregnancy and how it affects and is affected by T1D. Mother daughter communication, healthy body image, talking with peers and significant others about T1D, and more will be discussed.

Children with Diabetes Friends for Life Fall Church 2016 April 8 – 10, 2016 – Falls Church, VA

Three tracks will take you through technology, policy advocacy, Nightscout, and living with diabetes in this star studded conference near the nation’s capitol. Child care is available.

TCOYD (Taking Control of Your Diabetes) April 16, 2016 – Memphis, TN

TCOYD is a one-day program with tracks for both Type 1 and Type 2 individuals (and their friends and family, of course). Those who attend will have opportunities to learn about the latest tools, tips, techniques, and technology to help live healthier lives with diabetes. What I love about this program is that it was founded and is run by physicians who have intimate knowledge of diabetes; they have the disease! Many of the speakers also have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, so it’s not as if it’s a “do as I say and not as I do, because I don’t have a clue” program. If you have one coming to your area, you’re fortunate!

TCOYD (Taking Control of Your Diabetes) April 30, 2016 – Honolulu, HI

TCOYD is a one-day program with tracks for both Type 1 and Type 2 individuals (and their friends and family, of course). Those who attend will have opportunities to learn about the latest tools, tips, techniques, and technology to help live healthier lives with diabetes. What I love about this program is that it was founded and is run by physicians who have intimate knowledge of diabetes; they have the disease! Many of the speakers also have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, so it’s not as if it’s a “do as I say and not as I do, because I don’t have a clue” program. If you have one coming to your area, you’re fortunate!

GTC Diabetes Summit 2016 April 25-27, 2016 – Boston, MA

Got $2495? Then this conference is for you.

According to the website, that $2495 will get you research, partnership opportunities and network with academia, venture capital, government, small/medium size biotech, big pharma and healthcare organizations. The summit includes the Diabetes Drug Discovery and Development Conference, dealing with the clinical side of things. The Diabetes Partnering & Deal-Making Conference dives into opportunities for partnerships, funding, licensing, and the financial bits of it all.

May

TCOYD (Taking Control of Your Diabetes) May 21, 2016-  Washington, DC

TCOYD is a one-day program with tracks for both Type 1 and Type 2 individuals (and their friends and family, of course). Those who attend will have opportunities to learn about the latest tools, tips, techniques, and technology to help live healthier lives with diabetes. What I love about this program is that it was founded and is run by physicians who have intimate knowledge of diabetes; they have the disease! Many of the speakers also have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, so it’s not as if it’s a “do as I say and not as I do, because I don’t have a clue” program. If you have one coming to your area, you’re fortunate! (They’re missing the entire southeastern portion of the United States.)

31h Annual Clinical Conference on Diabetes (ADA) May 26 – 29, 2016,  Ponte Vedra, FL

While not patient-centric, attendees will hear “cutting-edge research translated into clinical practice”. The 30th Annual Clinical Conference is designed specifically for primary care and diabetes specialty physicians, doctor of osteopathy, podiatrists, pharmacists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, psychologists and dietitians, certified diabetes educators and other health care professionals who care for patients with diabetes, at risk for diabetes, and who manage diabetes related complications.

AACE 25th Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress (American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists) May 25 – 29, 2016 Orlando, FL

Endocrinology encompasses more than just diabetes. There will be many sessions on diabetes and other endocrine issues at this conference for medical professionals.

June

Students With Diabetes National Conference June 3 – 5, 2016 – Safety Harbor, FL

A conference for young adults aged 18 – 30 from all over the country who want to learn about the latest in technology, research, and more from many amazing speakers.

 76th Scientific Sessions (ADA) June 10-14, 2016 – New Orleans, Louisiana

The “big” medical conference. While not specifically designed for the layperson with diabetes, many advocates do attend and sit in on sessions. Many study results are presented. We expect to see some major announcements this year.

Western Slipstream (Connected in Motion) June 17 – 19, 2016 – Canmore, Alberta, Canada

If you’re sporty and love The Great White North (to which the latter I can wholeheartedly attest), then go hang out with other Type 1s and do some athletic stuff. Connected In Motion is an amazing organization for adults with Type 1 diabetes.

TCOYD (Taking Control of Your Diabetes) June 18, 2016-  San Antonio, TX

TCOYD is a one-day program with tracks for both Type 1 and Type 2 individuals (and their friends and family, of course). Those who attend will have opportunities to learn about the latest tools, tips, techniques, and technology to help live healthier lives with diabetes. What I love about this program is that it was founded and is run by physicians who have intimate knowledge of diabetes; they have the disease! Many of the speakers also have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, so it’s not as if it’s a “do as I say and not as I do, because I don’t have a clue” program. If you have one coming to your area, you’re fortunate!

2016 ConnecT1D Retreat June 25 – 26, 2016 – Seattle/Bainbridge Island, WA

The 2016 ConnecT1D Retreat is a 1-2 Day retreat for adults, teens and young adults with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). It’s a weekend to share, learn and laugh with others who face the demands- and oddities- of the daily grind that is T1D.

July

Friends for Life July 5 – 10, 2016 (Children With Diabetes) – Orlando, FL 

This is the de facto gold standard for any family with diabetes. It’s being held this year at the Orlando World Center Marriott.

Room rates are $169 + tax. This rate is available 3 days before and after the conference for those families who might want to extend their vacation. Self-parking is $18/day, with a 50% discount if you are in the room block.

Larger Suites may be reserved for hospitality events or entertaining, subject to availability. Suites are also available for larger families, again subject to availability. There are different types of suites and they have different prices; please contact the hotel directly for availability and pricing.

For housing reservations, call Marriott reservations directly at (888) 789-3090 or use Marriott’s Online Reservation System. If you are calling, be sure to say you are with the Children with Diabetes Friends for Life conference. The Children with Diabetes room block is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that you are only in the CWD room block – and only have the perks of being in the room block – if you make reservations through these phone numbers or website.

2016 Practical Ways to Achieve Targets in Diabetes Care July 14 – 17, 2016 – Keystone, Colorado

While not a patient conference, worth taking a look at to see what’s being discussed. “This course is designed to help healthcare providers caring for patients with diabetes, including but not limited to, endocrinologists/diabetes specialists, internists, pediatricians, family physicians, physician assistants, medical residents, fellows, nurse practitioners, nurses, dietitians and certified diabetes educators.”

Hodia DTreat 2016 July 15 – 17, 2016 – Boise, ID

Hodia DTreat is a diabetes retreat for young adults with T1 and their support persons aged 18-30 years old! Over the weekend you will have the opportunity to form relationships with others who get it, and talk truth about the issues facing people your age with T1D.

August

TCOYD (Taking Control of Your Diabetes) August 27, 2016 Corning, CA

TCOYD is a one-day program with tracks for both Type 1 and Type 2 individuals (and their friends and family, of course). Those who attend will have opportunities to learn about the latest tools, tips, techniques, and technology to help live healthier lives with diabetes. What I love about this program is that it was founded and is run by physicians who have intimate knowledge of diabetes; they have the disease! Many of the speakers also have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, so it’s not as if it’s a “do as I say and not as I do, because I don’t have a clue” program. If you have one coming to your area, you’re fortunate!

AADE 16 (American Association  August 12 – 15, 2016 San Diego, CA

This is a conference for diabetes educators but patients are welcome to attend as well. The focus is on fostering better communication between patients and providers and helping educators to become integral parts of a patient’s care.

September

The Diabetes UnConference September 9 – 11, 2016 – Atlantic City, NJ

The first peer-to-peer idea exchange and support conference for all adults with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Unlike other conferences geared to patients, this conference has no keynotes or research/expert presentations; just discussions facilitated by those with diabetes about topics that may be difficult to have with people who don’t have diabetes!

Summer Slipstream (Connected in Motion) September 16 – 18, 2016 – Ontario, Canada

If you’re sporty and love The Great White North (to which the latter I can wholeheartedly attest), then go hang out with other Type 1s and do some athletic stuff. Connected In Motion is an amazing organization for adults with Type 1 diabetes.

Friends for Life Anaheim 2016 September 16 – 18, 2016 – Anaheim, California 

Registration has not opened yet. This will be updated when the registration link becomes available.

52nd EASD Annual Meeting  (European Association for the Study of Diabetes) – Munich, Germany

This is the European “big” medical conference, much like ADA’s Scientific Sessions.

October

Slipstream in the US (Connected in Motion) October, 2016 – TBA

Connected In Motion is an amazing organization for adults with Type 1 diabetes and they’ll be coming to the US to do something athletic. At this time, no further information regarding dates, place, or cost has been released, but by bookmarking this page, you can come back and check!

TCOYD (Taking Control of Your Diabetes) October 1, 2016 – San Diego, CA

TCOYD is a one-day program with tracks for both Type 1 and Type 2 individuals (and their friends and family, of course). Those who attend will have opportunities to learn about the latest tools, tips, techniques, and technology to help live healthier lives with diabetes. What I love about this program is that it was founded and is run by physicians who have intimate knowledge of diabetes; they have the disease! Many of the speakers also have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, so it’s not as if it’s a “do as I say and not as I do, because I don’t have a clue” program. If you have one coming to your area, you’re fortunate!

Canadian Diabetes Association CDA/CSEM Professional Conference October 26 – 29, 2016 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The “big” medical conference in Canada. While not specifically designed for the layperson with diabetes, many advocates do attend and sit in on sessions.

November

TCOYD (Taking Control of Your Diabetes) November 19, 2016 –  Orlando, FL

TCOYD is a one-day program with tracks for both Type 1 and Type 2 individuals (and their friends and family, of course). Those who attend will have opportunities to learn about the latest tools, tips, techniques, and technology to help live healthier lives with diabetes. What I love about this program is that it was founded and is run by physicians who have intimate knowledge of diabetes; they have the disease! Many of the speakers also have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, so it’s not as if it’s a “do as I say and not as I do, because I don’t have a clue” program. If you have one coming to your area, you’re fortunate!


 

Want to help your fellow people impacted by diabetes by sharing this page on Twitter?

Simply click the birdie and let it automatically tweet this link for you.

Because you rock. 

Tweet: Your 2016 #Diabetes Conference Calendar is here: http://ctt.ec/B6b7I+ thanks to @theperfectdblog - bookmark it! #doc


 

PLEASE NOTE:

I did not include “invite only” conferences.

As always, there are bound to be more opportunities to meet other people with diabetes, learn about the disease, and advocate. These are just a few. As I hear of more, I’ll post them here. And if you’re interested in getting your national/regional event on the list, please contact me at theperfectd [at] gmail.com and let’s talk.

The Diabetes UnConference: Scholarships Available for Las Vegas and More…

I would like to apologize in advance by what might look by an unnecessary overabundance of exclamation points. It’s the only way I could really and truly express my enthusiasm. In fact, I took some out when I edited.

SCHOLARSHIPS!

© Christopher Angell
© Christopher Angell

Scholarships are available for 2016 The Diabetes UnConference in Las Vegas (March 10 – 13, 2016), the first and only peer support idea exchange for all adults with diabetes (no matter what type) and those who love people with diabetes (i.e. spouses, significant others, parents…).

There are both travel (U.S. only for travel expenses) and room only scholarships.

Deadline to enter is September 30, 2015 and all it takes is a few minutes to share your thoughts in a form. (I don’t pick the recipients; a scholarship committee does after the identifying information is removed, so any attempts to bribe me with delectable gifts will be eaten without remorse. )

These scholarships are made available through The Diabetes Collective, Inc., the 501(c)(3) non-profit that runs The Diabetes UnConference and the gracious and generous private donors who want people impacted by diabetes to be able to get face-to-face peer support.

If you’re interested in donating to The Diabetes Collective for the scholarship fund, please click here:

The Diabetes Collective Scholarship Fund

 (It is tax-deductible!)

We will be offering scholarships for The Diabetes UnConference in Atlantic City, too. (September 10 – 13, 2016.) The announcement will come out in the spring of 2016. Hold on to your hats, which I am sure are fashionable and keep the sun off your gorgeous face.

REGISTRATION FOR PEOPLE WHO LOVE US!

2016 is going to be even more amazing, as we are adding a separate session track for people who love us. Sometimes called T3s or Type Awesomes, these are the people who love a person with diabetes and needs the same type of peer support people with diabetes get at The Diabetes UnConference.

If you are a spouse, a significant other, a parent, an adult sibling, or an adult friend who loves a person with diabetes, then register. While we will have some sessions that will be in the same room as those you love (PWD), you’ll have safe, private sessions to talk about the things you can’t discuss with a PWD: your fears, your frustrations, your ways of coping – learning from others and building a face-to-face connection for your own peer support.

Register, even if your own PWD may not want/or can’t attend.

Note: This conference is for adults only; no one under 21 will be allowed into the conference or conference area and there is no childcare available onsite. There is a fabulous conference for kids – CWD’s Friends For Life, where they can meet their peers. I love that conference and what it offers to kids. 

PRE-CONFERENCE SESSIONS!

We are adding Friday pre-conference (or pre-UnConference?) sessions! These sessions will be included at no charge for registered attendees of The Diabetes UnConference and, if space is available, for non-attendees. More details to follow, but if you’re planning on heading to Las Vegas, you might want to see if you can stretch out your trip.

Multiple sessions will be available from 11:30am all the way to 4:00pm on Friday, March 10, 2016. No food or beverages will be served during these sessions, but there are a lot of great dining options and a convenience store in the hotel. We’ll cover a wide variety of topics, but you will need to sign up for these sessions in advance, so stay tuned. (A great way to stay on top of it all is to sign up for The Diabetes UnConference newsletter – we don’t sell or share your email address when you sign up, so your secret identity is safe with us.)

LINK TO RESERVE YOUR FLAMINGO LAS VEGAS HOTEL ROOM IS ALIVE!

GO Room
GO Room King

Reserve your room now at the special rate The Flamingo Las Vegas has for The Diabetes UnConference 2016 attendees.

If you click this link, you’ll get pricing for each type of room and what’s included in your room rate. 

If you click this link, it will take you directly to the special reservation page… Presto!

Last year, people who didn’t know each other connected via The Diabetes UnConference FB page and saved some moola (and developed some wonderful friendships…), so if you’re looking for a way to save… just go to the FB page and ask!

DO STUFF TOGETHER!

© Bea Sparks
© Bea Sparks

We listened to the feedback from last year’s alumni and one of the things they suggested this year were casual opportunities to “do stuff together” before the official conference begins. It was just one of many great ideas that we’ll be incorporating into the 2016 conferences in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. (Our community is creative, insightful, and fun!)

Options will become available in the late fall to register for these “do stuff together” excursions , including a “let’s do outdoorsy stuff together,” “let’s do fast driving stuff together,” “let’s do just as exciting but more cultural stuff together,”, and some “let’s do a meal together.” These will be available on Thursday and Friday morning. These are not included in the registration; you’ll register separately, and are only available for registered attendees.

ATLANTIC CITY REGISTRATION IS ALSO OPEN!

Resorts Two TowersResorts Casino in Las Vegas will be the hosting hotel for The Diabetes UnConference 2016 – Atlantic City from September 9 – 11, 2016. Yep. It’s a long ways off, but we’re already in planning mode. We’ll be one of the first conferences in their multimillion dollar expansion of their conference facilities!

Take a look at what’s on tap. Yep. It’s a long way off. Nice to have something to look forward to… And if you are planning on attending both Las Vegas and Atlantic City, let me know and you’ll get a discount code for the Atlantic City registration that will make you do a happy dance on the beach at Resorts Casino (because it’s right on the beach!)

If you’re just interesting in registering for Atlantic City… Boom! Here’s the registration link!

We’ve got more good things up our sleeves, which are currently rolled up and excited for 2016! Join us!

(And here are the exclamation points that I removed in editing, in case you wanted to see them: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m a little excited. Can you tell?)

One more thing… If you have Twitter, please spread the word:
Tweet: Scholarships to The #Diabetes UnConference LV available. Learn more here: http://ctt.ec/570rK+ #doc #dsma

The Diabetes UnConference – 2016 Las Vegas Registration is Open!

un-diabetes-conference-fullcolor-iconI am honored to announce that The Diabetes Collective, Inc. has opened registration for The Diabetes UnConference at The Flamingo Las Vegas from March 10 – 13, 2016. 

Trying something new is scary. Trying to put on a conference where the agenda isn’t truly defined until the participants are in the room together – and wondering if any participants will show up – is terrifying. I had my moments. More than my share of moments.

And you know what? I can’t wait for this to happen again. 

I’ve given you my first impressions about The Diabetes UnConference that happened in March. Others have, too. 

But what I didn’t tell you then was how I sobbed in my hotel room after the conference ended for almost an hour. Not from sadness, but from sheer elation. Happy sobs, because I had met people from all walks of life who wanted to learn from each other and build a net of support. These people astounded me with their frankness, their honesty, their willingness to open up they own Pandora’s Box, and their desire to help. I am a better person, not just a better person with diabetes, because of the people I met. 

We asked attendees to complete a post-conference survey. Here are some interesting things we learned:

62% of the attendees said that they were planning or already made a change in the way they manage their diabetes based on what they learned at The Diabetes UnConference.

Some of those changes were with the way they interacted with their medical care team, or asking for help from others, or staying motivated through peer support. Others planned on talking with their medical team about super bolusing or untethering or trying a new medical device or medication because of the experiences their peers had.

The sponsors were amazing. We couldn’t have done this without the support of Insulet, Dexcom, Medtronic, JDRF, Abbott, Tandem, Roche, Asante, and J&J/Animas. One of the attendees summed up pretty much how everyone felt:

“I know they were there to promote their brands, but I also appreciate the fact that they supported this event so enthusiastically.”

When asked what they enjoyed most about The Diabetes UnConference, the answers made my heart swell:

“The feeling of relief, of understanding, of connection. I also learned a ton of new ideas on how to better manage my diabetes or change the way I think about it. I also loved meeting others who have gone through experiences I am about to go through, so I can hear what they learned from it.”

“Sitting in a room filled with people I could relate to, and didn’t have to explain or justify what I was doing/eating/etc. Also, as much as I love my family, I really enjoyed having NO responsibilities for the weekend except for myself. It took some of the ‘weight’ off of my brain having to only worry about myself. And even then, I wasn’t too worried because I knew if something happened, I was surrounded by people who knew what to do to help me.”

“The sense of safe community we all created. We all really got to shed some diabetes weight. I felt lighter after, like I could go back out and face the world with diabetes again.”

“I have told everyone I know that this was THE best conference that I have ever attended in my entire life.  Lots of experiences were shared.  I got a perspective that I have not experienced before.  People were friendly and I took away ideas and stories that people told that I will hold with me forever.  Truly an awesome experience.”

Of course, it wasn’t all sunshine and glitter. We had some bumps… Not enough time to deeply get into topics, not enough breaks for decompression during the event, and the need for more non-session social interaction. Plans are already underway to made the event even better. We also knew before we left that two things needed to be added for 2016:

  • We are adding a “People Who Love Us” registration for spouses, significant others, family members, and close friends of people with diabetes who need the same type of psychosocial support that we received this year. They need that same safe space, non-judgement zone where they can talk about how we can be total jerks sometimes and no one will tell them that’s wrong. They will have their own sessions, just like the PWDs, but we’ll also have some sessions together to talk about ways to help each other.
  • We are adding one on the East Coast. Attendees want to come from all over, but sometimes the cost for airfare is ridiculous. The Diabetes UnConference – East Coast will happen in the fall of 2016 and allow participants to choose either (or both). Contracts are being hammered out as I type.

The intimacy of The Diabetes UnConference is what makes it so special, so we are limiting registrations again. If you want to attend in Las Vegas, please register as soon as possible to take advantage of the Early Bird registration and secure your attendance. We’ve got a lot of fun things planned already for next year, along with some great ideas. Hope that you’ll join us!

 

 

#HealtheVoices15 – Peeking Into Other Patient Communities

When you are living with a chronic illness, your view on your particular disease can be laser focused, and that’s perfectly fine. We want to raise awareness, to share our stories, and to connect with others just like us. That’s what builds strong, impactful communities.

healthevoicesconferenceI learned this weekend at the Health eVoices conference that we must peek into other patient communities. Health eVoices was the brainchild of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, who paid for my travel and lodging expenses to have me (and about 60ish other patient advocates) attend and participate. They paid my travel and lodging, but not my opinion and thoughts about what happened there. These thoughts and opinions are what I want to share…

Our Community Is Not Unique

There were patient advocates from many communities: HIV/AIDS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, IBD, Crohn’s, Colitis, Cancer, MS, Mental Illness, and Castleman. (More on Castleman later.) These individuals may not be the loudest or most prominent voice in each community, but as I keep saying: every voice matters. They speak from their hearts, their passion pours from every pore, and they want to bring their experiences out of the darkness and into the light where they can be a beacon to others.

We all want that. Each community wants to be heard, to be understood, and to be recognized – not just by the general public, but by decision makers and people who can make their lives easier. Our Diabetes Online Community is filled with powerful voices, but we aren’t unique; so many other patient communities have powerful voices, too. I spent a lot of time at Health eVoices thinking about how we can connect and learn from other communities (and I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one).

Learning From Others is Crucial

Dr. Zubin Damania is a name you probably wouldn’t recognize, but you might have heard of ZDoggMD. He was our keynote speaker on Saturday morning and while I was a little skeptical sitting down (“What the hell? A doctor turned comedian – comedian turned doctor yukking it up about healthcare? Please.” Obviously, four cups of coffee that morning did not make me feel particularly perky.), by the end of his talk, I was ready to throw my glucose meter on stage in tribute. (Don’t worry, I didn’t. Would have probably smacked him in the head and I hadn’t downloaded the data yet.)

He talked about how he got to where he is today, and how he uses humor to raise awareness through some hysterical (yet medically correct!) videos – and then about his vision of Health 3.0 through programs like Turntable Health. (50% of the patient exam rooms are actually consultation rooms where patients and medical teams can have conversations face-to-face in comfy armchairs.)

I will also always sing Usher’s “Yeah” if I have to give CPR because of ZDoggMD. So will you after you watch this (and I suggest you do!).

We also listened to Susannah Fox, a health and technology trendspotter (her term) and trendsetter (my term). She was our afternoon keynote speaker, and also talked about how far we’ve come from the paternalistic doctor-patient relationship to today’s savvier patient – and yet, we have so much further to go. While I typed from my laptop, checking my Twitter feed from my smartphone, she shared statistics about the inequality that still exists for patients who can’t really access the resources that are needed to take control of their own healthcare or help others in their family.

There were smaller sessions focusing on creating a living as a patient advocate (Chronicbabe is the bomb, sharing everything from her bag of tricks and being very open about how she translated her patient life into a living.), compassion fatigue with Dr. Koffman and the DOC’s Kerri Sparling, the legalities of blogging with Jimmy Nguyen, and tracking analytics with Tim Cigelske.

But it was the people sitting in the seats next to me during the sessions and meals that gave me the most to think about. As much as we complain about people not understanding diabetes, I found myself being one of “those people,” asking what is probably simple questions that individuals of that disease answer over and over and over. Like many of us in the Diabetes Online Community, they were gracious and responded with articulate and heartfelt answers. There wasn’t enough time to learn about all of these diseases, but learning about them is crucial.

We All Try To Make It Look Easy

I say this all the time with diabetes: our goal is to live long and healthy lives with as few complications as possible. It’s not just with diabetes. It’s every chronic health condition and every illness that impacts us on a long-term basis.

HandI watched as people checked blood sugars (“Go, diabetes tribe!”) at lunch tables, grabbed ice packs and heat packs from the relaxation room that Janssen so thoughtfully provided for their swollen joints, checked on family members via text and phone calls in hallways, swallowed pills during sessions. We all try to make it look easy to not be the victim, but this group of advocates made it easier to be open about our particular issues. I was surrounded by amazing strength and resilience, even when it’s difficult to move and function “normally.”

So, What’s Next?

What can we do, as communities, to help others? For me, my takeaway was this: I want to learn more about other patient communities and reach outside of the diabetes community to strengthen us – and by us, I mean patients – all patients. We all know someone, right? (You’re not a hermit.) There is someone in your circle of friends who is at risk for breast cancer, a blood clot, or other health condition. You may have met someone with Crohn’s or MS, but you might not have met someone who has Castleman Disease – because they don’t even know they have it yet.

Let’s learn from each other. Support each other. Find ways to connect and share and raise each other’s voices to build stronger patients – and in doing so, strengthen everyone’s community.

I learned this weekend about Castleman Disease from Raj, a medical student in Nashville who was diagnosed with this rare disease. What if I told you that most people are misdiagnosed? Wouldn’t you want to know a little more about it? I do, because you never know who you’ll meet that might need your support.

Here is just one resource about Castleman Disease for you to quickly learn about it. I challenge you to read it and then file it away in your big brain. I will be sharing more information about different chronic diseases so that we can all become better educated, raise awareness, and get our voices heard. What can you do today to do the same?

Hint: Share this post. Share information about Castleman. Ask someone about their own chronic illness – and learn from them. We are one patient community, made up of many patient communities… all brave, all eager to share, and all looking for support.

 

The Diabetes UnConference DEADLINES

Hi, you.

Yes, you. I’m talking to you with the diabetes.*

Wanted to give you a quick update on what’s going on with The Diabetes UnConference. (And if you don’t know what it is… please go to www.DiabetesUnConference.com and learn about the first multi-day peer-to-peer idea exchange for ALL adults with diabetes (Type 1, Type 2, Type I want to talk about my diabetes…) being held at the Flamingo Las Vegas from March 13 – 15, 2015.

Room Block Deadline: February 10, 2015

1145DB10980204DD1A48CB84162B3570Book your room now.

The super-duper low room rate at The Flamingo Las Vegas, where the conference is being held, is only available until February 10, 2015. (This means you can count the days left on two hands if you have all ten fingers. If you don’t, well… borrow.)

After that, they release the room block to the hoards of basketball fans who will descend on Las Vegas for March Madness. (We root for Team Diabetes UnConference. We are undefeated.)

Don’t get caught paying a stupidly high rate for a room that you can get for a song (if that song costs $69.00+applicable tax and fees) through The Diabetes UnConference room block. Check out the information about The Flamingo Las Vegas here. And book your room here.

Attendee Registration Deadline: March 1, 2015

un-diabetes-conference-fullcolor-iconEven if you aren’t planning on staying at the hotel, please register by March 1st. We won’t be able to accommodate walk-ups, as head counts must be given to catering and for the incredible Dexcom sponsored High Roller event. I would hate for anyone to not be able to participate because they waited until the last minute. I can’t “squeeze you in”. Don’t miss out.

Why Should You Come To The Diabetes UnConference?

You can learn why I think you should come. Watch this interview where I make a lot of funny faces and answer questions (thank to TuDiabetes for the hilarious chat!):

Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it. Take their words:

We want you to be there. We want you to feel like you can talk openly about diabetes without judgment and learn from others. We want you to join us for the crazy, zany, beautiful things that will happen.

Don’t miss out. We don’t want to miss you. 

*And you with the desire to help those with diabetes. We love you, too. While you can’t join us this year, you can help spread the word. Don’t worry… we have plans for you to come next year!

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