I feel like I’m drowning at the moment as I try to catch up after almost a week away at the Australia Diabetes Educators Association (ADEA) conference and prepare for two weeks away: R&R in Rome (love a bit of alliteration!) for a week followed by the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) conference in Berlin.

But I do want to mention some of the highlights (of which there were many) from the ADEA conference on the Gold Coast.

So, here’s the dot-point (read, lazy) special!

  • It was refreshing, reassuring and may have made me yell out ‘FINALLY!’ several times to see some focus on diabetes wellbeing at this conference.
  • The plenary speech on the first day was given by Dr. Martha Funnell, MS, RN, CDE from Michigan Diabetes Research & Training Center. Let me begin by saying she’s amazing. Let me continue by saying that I saw all four of her presentations about patient engagement, patient-centred care and communication. If every health professional there could take on three of her key points I reckon there would be some pretty happy PWD!

Here are some of my favourite Martha Funnell–focussed tweets:

  • If there was an award for MVP, surely the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes (ACBRD) would have taken it out!  Ten posters, four presentations and their own symposium on the last day. And Professor Jane Speight gets extra points for including a Harry Potter reference in her presentation.

  • Dr Helen Murphy from the University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories gave a fascinating presention at an Australian Diabetes in Pregnancy Society lecture which focussed on technology used in diabetes and pregnancy. How’s this for an amazing concept: three BGL tests for the WHOLE OF YOUR PREGNANCY! That’s what was going on in the 1970s.
  • An incredible team from the Australian Diabetes Society (ADS) launched the  Enhancing Your Consulting Skills education resource for endocrinology trainees. This resource focusses on type 1 diabetes and will provide trainees with a balanced, informed and better understanding of type 1 diabetes. There’s much to love about this concept – not the least of which is that the project team consulted with people with diabetes. And have referenced consumer blogs (like this one!) and sites as places to get information.

OK – and now for the stuff that left me wondering….

  • How is it possible that with over one million Australians living with diabetes, I was the only consumer representative/advocate (who is not a health professional) at the event, which means that this consumer blog is the only one writing about it?
  • When will health professionals stop making sniggering comments about how people with diabetes ‘lie’, ‘make up’ or simply ‘refuse’ to fill in their diabetes log books? Surely the discussion is not so much about this happening, but rather why PWD feel they need to do this. Judgement much, anyone? Grumpy Renza tweet about it here:

  • I love technology to bits!  And diabetes technology makes me swoon a little.  BUT! The downside is that using new technologies can be A LOT OF WORK!  And this can lead to burnout. This needs to be addressed. It’s not.


  • I continue to find it frustrating and disappointing that consumers – people actually living with diabetes – generally don’t get to hear most of the international speakers. A big shout out to Medtronic ANZ for running consumer sessions with their international invited guest, Dr Steven Wittlin from the University of Rochester Medical Centre. And if there’s any doubt that people with diabetes are hungry for these types of sessions, perhaps knowing that 170 people braved the Melbourne cold to hear him speak at a DA-Vic/Medtronic co-hosted event will alleviate any concerns. It’s such a shame that Martha Funnell and Helen Murphy along with many others did not get to share their expertise with people living with diabetes.
  • After Helen Murphy’s brilliant presentation, I got up to leave, my head filled with hope and excitement only to hear this from two health professionals walking out ‘Really – it would just be easier if we could lock pregnant women with diabetes in hospital for their pregnancy so we can make sure they’re behaving.’ Cue – Renza hyperventilating as she tried to not explode.

You can catch up on a brief wrap-up here;


And watch all of Jane Speight’s interview here:


Overall, it was a great conference with many highlights. But I think I’ll finish this post with another tweet from one of Martha Funnell’s session: