Managing type 2 diabetes can be just as hard as managing type 1. Wouldn't it be cool if someone were encouraging patients to set a motivational D-management goal for the week, and they'd donate $5 to an influential diabetes organization or charity in the process?
Well, that's exactly what the 'Mine's own parent company Alliance Health Networks is doing right now at the huge DiabeticConnect community site. Alliance has been working with Edelman PR to develop a type 2 diabetes healthy living campaign for Amylin, in partnership with four well-known diabetes nonprofits: Manny Hernandez's Diabetes Hands Foundation; Brandy Barnes' group for D-women, Diabetes Sisters; Dr. Bill Polonsky's Behavioral Diabetes Institute (BDI) in San Diego, and the American Diabetes Association.
The campaign is called "This Week I Will," a site launched last week within DiabeticConnect allowing visitors to pledge to take a small step to better manage their diabetes.
Participating type 2s can choose from 10 goal options in a pulldown menu, ranging from learning what their A1C means to eating a healthy breakfast each morning or substituting fruit for dessert, to taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking 30 minutes at least four times that week.
For each pledge, a $5 donation will be made to the diabetes charity of your choice! Amylin committed $100,000 to the initiative to be divided up between the four groups, with each organization receiving up to $25,000.
Here's a screen shot of the site:
Where Does the Money Go?
While three of the four groups don't have any geographic restrictions in terms of where the donations go, the ADA donations actually won't go to the national level but will be divvied up between eight local chapters: Birmingham, Chicago, Knoxville, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New Orleans, San Antonio, and San Diego. (We thought you might like to know this given recent scandals about how funds from national advocacy organizations like ADA get spent.)
In the first week, a total 924 pledges had been made! The ADA has reached 4.4% of its goal with $1,105, the DHF at 5.4% with $1,350, D-Sisters at 5.1% with $1,265, and the BDI at 3.6% with $890.
The project has been in the works for "many months," says Amylin's VP of medical research and development, Dr. David Maggs. "For adults with type 2 diabetes, even an ordinary week demands extraordinary effort. The good news is that even small changes — like those encouraged in this campaign — can add up to better diabetes management."
Change is Social
What makes this initiative unique is that they're not asking T2 PWDs to make more individual efforts on their own. Rather, participants can share their pledges on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter (#thisweekiwill), and by email to get support and encouragement from friends and family. Participants can also get email alerts and support newsletters, too.
Amylin has also launched another online tool in conjunction with this called bChange.com, a behavior change program developed with diabetes experts including Dr. Bill Polonsky of the BDI. This site can be used separately, but it allows participating PWDs to make their weeklong pledges a more permanent part of their management routine. PWDs can get an overview of "how to" successfully adopt new health habits and tips to better manage their diabetes.
Overall, we think it's a pretty neat campaign that does great social good in allowing PWDs to not only help themselves and be healthier, but also to help others through their pledges.
Using Ads to Do Good...
Yes, the site does prominently feature an advertisement for Amylin's "once-weekly" injectable GLP-1 drug Bydureon in big bold letters. And there's a disclaimer that info provided won't be shared publicly but could be used for Amylin's marketing purposes... Yes, these make me uneasy. But I guess that's what Amylin gets from the deal, like what they'd get out of an opt-in advertising campaign, except this time, they've "gone the extra mile" by also helping out four awesome D-causes.
One of the first thoughts I had when checking out the site was, "I could do this and pledge to do one more blood test every day for a week!" I'm tempted to go jump in myself, although as a type 1, I currently wouldn't be able to produce a donation for one of these great charities.
Why no focus on type 1? Well clearly, Bydureon isa type 2 drug, and the core idea was to assist patients in the kind of lifestyle changes most appropriate to type 2 management.
In a conference call late last week to kick off this campaign, Maggs said they're eager to see how successful this is and what they can do with this concept in the future. He said they are definitely interested in exploring a type 1 aspect, but there's no definite plan yet and no decisions will be made until the results from this initial version are analyzed.
Even now, there is some room for improvement. Our friend and fellow D-Advocate Hope Warshaw, a certified diabetes educator, joined in on the conference call and pointed out that she would've liked to see the campaign include some mention of D-educators, at least a way to guide people to CDEs.
That's something Maggs seemed open to and interested in. He also noted that next time, there'd likely be an effort to work with the national ADA so that donations wouldn't be limited to only eight regional chapters.
On the whole, I'm pretty impressed by this effort to use an ad campaign — that would happen anyway — to offer something useful that "gives back" to the D-Community. Congrats to the four organizations receiving donations!