We've talked for a long time about the need for a stronger type 2 presence in the Diabetes Community, and though we've seen some great advocates and people with diabetes (PWDs) sharing their stories, there is still a need for more.
TuDiabetes now has an idea to help.
The online diabetes community is unveiling a new live interview series focused on type 2, and for the immediate future in October and November, this will include weekly interviews with people who either live with T2D or have specific D-expertise.
You can watch these interviews broadcast live Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1pm Pacific, or watch the playback after the fact. The initial lineup for October is already set, as below. Actually, the first interview was this Thursday and it's definitely worth a listen!
- Oct. 1 (yesterday): Gary Taubes, an investigative science and health journalist who lives with type 2. He's co-founder of the non-profit Nutrition Science Initiative and wrote the books, Why We Get Fat? and Good Calories, Bad Calories. You can listen to that live TuDiabetes interview archived on their site.
- Oct. 7: Susan Guzman, a clinical psychologist specializing in diabetes who many PWDs may recognize for her involvement with the Behavioral Diabetes Institute. She'll be talking about her work fighting diabetes social stigma, and eliminating the shame and blame often associated with type 2. For a primer on what she may say, see our past coverage of Susan's work on this front.
- Oct. 13: Ansley Dalbo, who in June 2015 launched the DiabetesWhatToKnow.com website with her husband Friend, creating a program for newly diagnosed type 2s and their families to learn the D-basics through an easy-to-use video-based email program. We're pretty excited about this site, knowing that our own Ask D'Mine columnist Wil Dubois helped create the content. Ansley has been a healthcare and retail pharmacy consultant for 13 years -- 11 of those years consulting with Walmart Pharmacy and helping market their generic ReliOn brand of meter and strips.
- Oct. 22: Mike Durbin (@MyDiabeticHeart) -- one of our D-friends who blogs at My Diabetic Heart and sometimes lends his cartoon drawing talents to us here at the 'Mine. Mike's been living with type 2 and congestive heart failure for a number of years.
We reached out to D-peep Emily Coles, who serves as "head of communities" over at TuDiabetes (39,000 members strong) under its non-profit parent organization Diabetes Hands Foundation, to tell us a bit more about this new series. Emily and I last met up and had a blast at the Friends For Life conference at Orlando in July, and it was great to re-connect with her for this update:
DM) Thanks for all the work you do, Emily! So why start this T2 series now?
EC) The vast majority of people with diabetes have type 2, yet many years into the evolution of the DOC (Diabetes Online Community) we still see greater representation from people with type 1. This may be due in part to the relative levels of support that different people feel they need, but we believe that many people with type 2 do not seek support (or delay seeking it) due to the social stigma they face, and an erroneous perception that they are to blame for their condition. This series for and about people with type 2 will aim to dispel that misperception, and offer people with type 2 access to a host of speakers who offer great respect, support and information to this community.
OK, but do types really matter?
In terms of what we do at the Diabetes Hands Foundation, which is to connect people with diabetes so that no one feels alone with this condition, types do not matter. We strongly believe that everyone with diabetes needs support and companionship at some point during their time with diabetes in order to face their condition in a healthy way, and that everyone with diabetes deserves that support and companionship!
But there remains a widely held social misconception that some people caused their own condition, and are therefore less deserving than others of every possible avenue of support and excellent care. This misconception is incredibly damaging to people with type 2 diabetes, and their health outcomes, and we reject it.
So you're saying that one thing that's very different between the types of diabetes is social perception?
Yes. When I tell someone for the first time that I have diabetes, I commonly hear responses like, "you obviously don't have the fat kind" or "do you have the bad kind or the good kind?" These questions betray a rampant misunderstanding of the types of diabetes -- one that leads to tremendous shaming of people with type 2. This is an important area of advocacy for people with both types in our community to tackle by taking every opportunity presented to us to educate others.
How do you think the T2 presence in the DOC is coming along?
The visibility of people with type 2 is growing in the DOC, but is still well behind type 1 visibility. This is a group that needs more presence and voice online, and there are great folks working hard for that (like the new TT2E Type 2 Experience blog). We want there to be even more.
TuDiabetes itself seems skewed towards more type 1s. Have many of your members been specifically asking for this?
In fact, yes. We have a very vocal core of people on TuDiabetes, and many of those folks have asked for more type 2-specific content on the site.
Yes and no. On TuDiabetes, we've recognized for some time that we wanted to appeal to more people with type 2, and have tried a number of things in that effort. This program would have happened eventually with or without the recent platform change for TuDiabetes. However the new platform has a flexibility to it that our previous platform did not, which allows us to think about and plan our programming more creatively, and in so doing we decided we were ready to launch this particular effort.
What are the plans for this interview series beyond these first two end-of-year months?
That will in large part depend on the uptake that this series gets. We gauge the appeal of all our programs and campaigns on TuDiabetes by how many people access them, and of course our end goal is to provide something that people want and benefit from. So if we get great attendance of these talks, and lots of people watch the recordings after the fact, it will be an indication that we're on a good track, and we'll do it again in 2016. If not, we'll rethink the project, try to assess why it was not popular, and try something else next year. Either way, we're dedicated to providing useful content for people with type 2 and will continue to prioritize it in our programming.
How can people nominate T2s, or sign up themselves if living with type 2?
I LOVE suggestions for speakers in our live interview program! Anyone who has a request or suggestion, or is interested in speaking themselves, should: 1) join TuDiabetes and 2) private message me with their suggestion. I keep a running list of suggestions I've received, and am constantly pulling great speakers from it.
Thanks for your time, Emily. We have to applaud this new series for PWDs living with type 2. Seriously, it's great to see a resource like this become available in our D-Community!