At Diabetes Hands Foundation (the nonprofit I was fortunate to co-found back in 2008, which drives TuDiabetes among other programs) diabetes advocacy has become an increasingly important part of our work over time. Since 2013, these efforts took us down a path that resulted in a roadmap with three core components:
1) Building up a database of Active Diabetes Advocates:
A robust database with information on individuals in the diabetes community, their advocacy interests, and their appetite for engagement will enable efforts to fill gaps and activate the patient base. Such a database will enable DHF to assist active advocacy campaigns as well as complement advocacy efforts by other diabetes organizations.
2) Develop an Online Diabetes Action Hub
There is a need for a one-stop online destination for People with Diabetes (PWD) interested in advocacy opportunities. PWD are active online and through many national organizations. But there is no single, central site - or hub - where an individual can locate information on a broad range of issues and advocacy opportunities related to diabetes. If an individual wants to engage in advocacy, it requires a great deal of effort to research and locate reliable information.
3) Create a Diabetes Advocacy Academy
The diabetes community can learn from both the HIV/AIDS and the breast cancer community’s successes in creating “patient-experts” and a large, educated advocacy base to lead patient-driven change. An online diabetes advocacy academy to develop patient-experts and educate the advocacy base will help fill skill and knowledge gaps in the diabetes community. This initiative provides a mechanism for multiple diabetes stakeholders to come together to train and nurture the diabetes patient-expert who will be an independent resource for all.
We have started to give life to these efforts:
1) Through this survey, which I invite you to complete, so we may grow this database..
2) Through this preliminary version of a hub, which currently dives into a single issue: speaking up for coordinated diabetes policy.
3) Through the experience we had at #MasterLab in Orlando, July 2. You can look at all the footage and Powerpoints of the presentations.
With your participation and support, the coming months and years will translate into more advocacy efforts. I hope you will join me in this effort, by completing this survey today.