We love nothing more than connecting with passionate people who not only share the challenges of our chronic condition, but have focused their talents and careers on helping this community.
One of those is D-peep Kelly Rawlings, a longtime type 1 diagnosed in the early 70s who serves as managing director of consumer publications for the American Diabetes Association (ADA). She shares that spark for diabetes journalism that fuels us here at the 'Mine.
Kelly has been at the helm of two diabetes magazines over the years, currently serving as editor of the ADA's national magazine Diabetes Forecast; she's been the catalyst for the publication's shift to include more T1D content. Today, we're delighted to have Kelly share her story and perspective, especially with all the excitement in 2015 as the ADA celebrates its 75th anniversary.
Of course the timing is auspicious, with the entire D-Community tuned into the big ADA annual Scientific Sessions conference that kicked off last Friday in Boston. We'll be there in person along with Kelly and many others to cover the action.
In the meantime, a word from Kelly...
A Guest Post by Kelly Rawlings
Calling diabetes “a job” is a common metaphor. Whether you treat it with diet, exercise, and perhaps a pill or two or you juggle intensive insulin therapy by pen, syringe, or pump, diabetes care sometimes seems to take as much time and concentration as whatever you do for a living.
So what happens when your actual paid work is also diabetes?
That’s a question I posed to myself about eight years ago as a journalist when I started editing Diabetic Living for publisher Meredith Corp. Would I continue to feel enthusiasm for reporting on diabetes when I also had to personally weave in the requisite finger pricks, boluses, and glucose tablets?
I soon realized that my job taking care of my diabetes and sharing health and news information about diabetes complement each other. My experience with self-care tasks and how they’ve changed in the past 42 years (since my diagnosis) is a benefit. Those insights are useful when I work with writers who translate research findings and clinical best practices in a way that’s useful for people living with—and thriving with—all types of diabetes. And I learn things to do and try (and rant and cheer) as I navigate my own 40-something diabetes.
I’ve been the editorial director for Diabetes Forecast for more than three years now. It’s been an honor to work with the ADA and magazine staff, volunteers, our cadre of freelance writers, and the health care professionals who comprise the editorial board and review each article with the needs and wants of our readers firmly in mind.
And then there’s our reader panel. The dozen or so members of the panel, who apply to take part on an annual basis, are people living with diabetes and/or serving as a caregiver to a loved one with diabetes. Reader panelists review and comment on articles so that magazine staff can make adjustments before we publish the content.
Each issue of Diabetes Forecast is read and reviewed multiple times and enriched by various viewpoints. This makes for high-quality content that is accurate as well as true to the lived experience across the spectrum of the diabetes community. More than any other print magazine I’ve worked on in my 25-year journalism career, Diabetes Forecast is an ongoing conversation with people I think of as both teachers and friends.
In fact, the magazine has been a conversation that’s lasted for more than 65 years. The magazine has been published since 1948. As ADA President Russell M. Wilder, MD, described in 1947:
“The need arises for a magazine on diabetes, which I suggested should be addressed both to the general practitioner and to the patient, to help the patient help his doctor. ... Its editorial staff presumably will consist primarily of laymen, but professional guidance will be given by a committee of our society. Publication quarterly probably will suffice, but in any case the magazine must sell at a cost that everyone who needs it can afford it.”
Our means and methods may have changed—from the original 25-cent leaflets (pictured) we’re now publishing in print and digital editions every other month and even more frequently on our website. You can read content from the magazine for free any time you want on a brightly glowing screen! Our mission remains steadfast: to make life better for people affected by diabetes.
Diabetes history is in the spotlight in much of our editorial coverage this year, especially since it’s the ADA's 75th anniversary. Historical photos, documents, and other artifacts (glass syringes! Clinitest tablets! Guillotine-style lancing devices!) are showing up around the office as some of my colleagues put together a museum display of 75 years of diabetes milestones. Seeing the discoveries through the decades provides momentum, fueling the next era of innovation.
The exhibit will be one of the many gems at the upcoming Scientific Sessions, the world's largest diabetes science meeting for researchers and clinicians that is being held June 5-9 in Boston. Follow hashtag #2015ADA and @AmDiabetesAssn for news from the meeting. You’re sure to see and hear a few conversation starters for your next diabetes checkup. Turn to the pages of Diabetes Forecast in the coming months as we dive more deeply into topics introduced at the meeting.
Yes, living with diabetes is a lot of work. But I think working in diabetes is rewarding. And even more rewarding is diving into all the ways to volunteer -- like how I Step Out, write my elected representatives, help organize the Des Moines TCOYD conference, serve as a public member on the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators, and am part of the We Are One Diabetes for professionals with type 1. Not to mention the time spent on Twitter participating in the diabetes online community (DOC).
Too much diabetes? Don’t worry; I’m sure you and I can occupy our time just fine after we defeat this foe.
Thanks, Kelly, for all you do with the ADA and beyond to help our D-community! Looking forward to all the news from the 2015 Scientific Sessions, marking this 75-year milestone.