Last week, the American Diabetes Association held their annual scientific meetings virtually (similar to our own Diabetes Congress that happens in Australia in August). To coincide with this event, Ascensia Diabetes Care held another of their social media summits.
The Social Media Summit, which made its debut in Australia in 2018 (and yes, my Aussie pride is on the line here), has brought together people with diabetes in different settings throughout the world to talk about some of the more difficult topics that are often more challenging to discuss. Thanks to this pandemic (and technology), I was invited to crash this forum and hear from some diabetes advocates from around the globe.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll happily say it again – Ascensia is one of those companies that truly want to engage with the community they are operating in. Since our introduction in 2018, they’ve continued to facilitate meaningful conversations through forums such as these. I’ve also seen a campaign to reduce the stigma around diabetes complications, support for people with diabetes to attend scientific meetings and a blog series encompassing a diverse group of voices. I’ve forgotten that Ascensia are also the manufacturer of a blood glucose meter, rather than just the facilitator of these initiatives.
Admittedly, I didn’t have a lot to contribute to this forum. Unless you count my frequent Tweeting. It was really insightful hearing of the challenges presented by advocates from across the globe, and it really paled in comparison to my own privileged little corner of the world.
I think one of the biggest takeaways from this is that nobody ever has the right to invalidate somebody else’s experience. There’s undoubtedly a lot of issues unique to the minorities in the diabetes community. Whether that be people of colour, people with type 2 diabetes and people unable to access healthcare or treatment for their diabetes – to name a few. In the past I’ve definitely questioned for example, someone with type 2 diabetes saying that they don’t feel the DOC (or part of it) is not a safe space for them, when it’s not really my place to do that.
I know that I feel most comfortable when I’m listening and learning about how we could do better to include others. I certainly don’t need to make this about me.
The other big topic of discussion was accessing healthcare during a pandemic, and there were some really insightful contributions.
One point that hit home for me was that for many (elderly) people, such as the Nonno’s and Nonna’s that I know of, visiting a healthcare professional may be one of their few human interactions. In our house, we often criticise the lack of options for our elderly who aren’t as technologically adept as companies have forced us to go online (long before this pandemic). There’s a million dollar business idea right there.
While many of the participants in this summit were undoubtedly informed and confident enough to approach their healthcare professional should an issue arise, this may not be the case for everyone. For those people lacking that confidence, potential diabetes complications could go undetected.
The statement that really hit home for me was that it’s a privilege just to be receiving treatment, regardless of the diagnosis. Not everyone has that privilege.
Disclosure: Ascensia Diabetes Care invited me to participate in this summit from the comfort of my own desk chair and computer screen. I received two and a half hours of peer support in return. There was no obligation for me to post, but I am an over-sharer and am doing so anyway.