In February 2018, Ascensia published their first ever conference blog posts written by a person with diabetes (PWD) attending a conference. The first event they covered was ATTD 2018 in Vienna and I was lucky enough to be their first author. This was a first for me as I‘d only ever written for my blog in the past. I kept the language clean and managed not to upset the lawyers. Yes, I can be tactful if I try…
I covered the scientific sessions that I went to because they were the ones that interested me, and I wrote about the advances in technology that were on show at the meeting. I tried not to focus on the shiny new tech that is only available to the few, but also report on the technology such as BG meters and pens that are used by most people with Type 1 diabetes and those with Type 2 that manage their diabetes using insulin.
This was something that Ascensia had not done before, and they wanted to start reporting from conferences in an engaging way that would bring the latest developments and scientific breakthroughs that were being presented at these meetings to those in the diabetes online community (DOC) that wanted to follow them and were not able to attend, along with Ascensia employees that wanted to know what goes on at these conferences. The intention was also to hear about the congress from the perspective of a PWD and not the corporate, scientific or technical point of view. The posts were well received and at the request of one of Ascensia’s business partners, the posts were translated into two Eastern European languages for local publication.
This was the start of an ongoing campaign of covering major conferences across the world, and from what we saw, the posts were well received by those that read them. We received numerous positive comments and encouragement from those who read the posts, so they have continued since that first ATTD meeting in 2018.
This blog has used guest bloggers from across the online community to report from events including Diabetes UK, ADA, AADE, ADC (Australia), EASD and more.
However, having reported in this way for 18 months and having covered all the major conferences, we feel that it’s time for a change. Time for a fresh look at things and some new voices.
That is why Ascensia have decided to take a different approach to their blog. They want to continue to report from conferences, as there is a need to reach more people than those who are privileged enough to be able to attend, but they also want to expand this blog beyond those reports for a number of reasons.
Firstly, there are many important topics that are not discussed at conferences and would make for worthwhile blog posts. By expanding the scope of this blog outside of conferences, we do not need to limit the topics in the blog to what new science, technological advances or changes to clinical practice that are presented at meetings.
Also, by expanding the scope of the blog, it enables us to publish more. Rather than publishing around 8 times a year, we plan publish articles every couple of weeks and cover around 25 topics every year, in addition to conferences.
And finally by expanding the scope, it allows us to hear from more voices across the diabetes community and increase the diversity of perspectives, experiences and locations that are covered. We want to hear from more contributors, as we examine important topics across the diabetes community.
This blog is designed to bring forward the voices of members of the diabetes community to the wider population. To help us do this, Ascensia has recruited an editorial board of experts from the diabetes community around the world. This editorial panel is comprised of me, Steffi Haack (Germany), Renza Scibilia (Australia), Kelly Kunik (USA) and Corinna Cornejo (USA). I am delighted to see this group of experts coming together to write for the DOC and we are all excited to get started.
Through this blog, we are aiming to create engaging content that covers topics that are important to the diabetes community, from access to technology and medications, to regional differences in diabetes care. From difficult conversations in diabetes, to stigma, language and psychological impact.
The question you will likely be asking is why should I follow this blog and read their posts.
Well, we think you will be interested because this blog is written by real people living with diabetes who want to share their experiences. This is true of many blogs, but here we hope that this international group of diverse perspectives and extensive experience in diabetes can give you something that you do not get from other blogs. Since we are spread across the globe, it also gives us the opportunity to compare geographic differences faced by PWDs around the world.
With this blog, we are aiming to open up conversations across the diabetes community. It’s not just about broadcasting our opinions. We hope that the topics we cover will be thought provoking and help to start conversations about important and sometimes difficult to talk about topics. These posts are intended to highlight challenges that people face and bring a broad range of perspectives on key issues in diabetes care. They are meant to provide a window into the priorities and challenges of people from other locations across the world and provide a forum for important topics in the diabetes community to be discussed that are not being covered elsewhere.
These are pretty big goals, but I am confident we can make this happen and hope you will join us for this journey. We are really excited to see this evolve and grow, so please look out for the first post soon.