So far during this month of Diabetes Awareness, I have read and/or seen hundreds, perhaps thousands, of postings and writings across social and other media sources. All things about education, inspiration, awareness, and advocacy. Incredible and wonderful ‘happenings’.
I ask myself what has changed? No one is to blame, these are ALL WONDERFUL. But I always believed that when the impact of something attempted does not achieve expected goals and the exact procedure is continued……well it’s time to change it up. Perfect example is Washington DC—-oh sure, we could get into a real heated debate, but at the end of the day—-nothing changing means everything stays the same.
We, in the diabetes community, need to take a look at November and figure out ourselves for a way to change the paradigm, the landscape, the state-of-present affairs dealing with diabetes in today’s world. The shot-gun approach of everyone doing ‘what they think’ is important is great….but the impact is a minimum.
Many major organizations fall into the trap of; “If we didn’t think of it. We’re not supporting it.” And they instruct their members to follow their banner for what THEY DEEM important for the month of November. Again, the same thing resulting in the same battle cry ‘people do not know about diabetes’ occurring each year has made me think of a new strategy.
Take the 10 largest organizations—-probably everyone in the diabetes community belongs to one or more of these organizations–gather them in a room (We meet at the ADA Scientific Conference because that conference is OPEN TO ALL; but I will surely settle on a conference call).
Now take the 10 most pressing topics in diabetes—Diabetes Management, Diabetes Cure, PWDS ARE THE Heroes, The difference among diabetes types and what they are and are not (caused by eating for example), Diabetes Funding, Missed Diagnosis, Capitol Hill, Diabetes in third world countries, Diabetes in School, The Psyche aspect of diabetes, Diabetes Awareness. Pick one; add your own.
Now for 11 months of the year, each organization can/will do ‘their own thing’ as they deem necessary but for one month out of the year, Diabetes Unity Month–formerly Diabetes Awareness Month–all 10 organizations choose one overall topic and each work that topic for the month with their entire membership——and wrap it all in blue.
Imagine if all those who were active in the diabetes community WERE ALL ROWING in the same direction for the month. IMAGINE!
I don’t know if attempted successfully, if this will/would work. WHAT I DO KNOW is that I have been at this for over 25 years and many of the topics mentioned above in the overall arc of diabetes knowledge have not changed all that significantly outside of our own diabetes world—-the same topics are still looking ‘to catch on’ in the mainstream. If started years ago, by now, we would be through each topic twice already and half way done with a third round.
Two concepts/ideas have been unified and have had good degree of success. The color blue, and the blue circle. Everyone has been behind these two……so THAT makes me believe that when unified and rowing in the same direction the topic chosen will have a more powerful result.
I love all that so many people do but clearly every group decides ‘this topic’ is what will be chosen to push in November—-but the directions chosen, although diabetes-centric are all going in different directions. That, as a principle, almost seems absurd, does it not?
If the ten organizations cannot come to an agreement on which topic is the most important one to tackle, easy decision—-no vote—-put the top ones in a hat and pull one out and THAT is where the energy is spent as a diabetes community for next November. Okay, DiabetesDad just has one of those crazy ideas again. Okay, so let’s try this; just try it for two years and see what happens.
Writers, media, membership, bloggers, organizations all on one topic for the thirty days of November. Will it work? No idea……but I know what has not worked for the last 25. Send this article to the heads of your organizations, ask them to send me their comments/thoughts/beliefs. I will keep them anonymous but let’s find out the feasibility. Share this—-write about it—-spread it around. Let’s not just talk about it—-send this article to the top staff leadership and the executive boards…..let’s make an effort to row together because when we do I’m 100% positive that the world will get caught up in the wake of diabetes awareness—-and rest assured the wake in THAT water will be November Blue.
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One thought on “In the Wake of Diabetes Awareness Month…….Time for Something New?”
rick phillips says:
I think we have good intentions in spades, we even have corporate support and plenty of money. What we are missing is an end game. I will toss my sacred cow out of the arena and say we need to focus on raising awareness of type 2 issues. It feels like type 2 issues are the most important for the most people.