Hopefully you all watched the Oscars last night, to get you psyched for our own take on the "best-of" among the Diabetes Community in various categories. What's unique about our DiabetesMine D-Oscars is that they not only praise work over the past year, but also give a nod to those continuously influencing the Community in positive ways (plus some not-so-good examples).
New for 2019, we opened this up for community voting and additional nominations, and were thrilled to receive more than 500 responses! We even saw some nominees lobbying for votes on Facebook groups, and among the #WeAreNotWaiting community, diabetes orgs, and industry.
Below are the designated winners for this year (encompassing early 2018 to the first weeks of 2019). Winners will receive bragging rights, and access to our special "virtual D-Oscar" icon created by our T1D illustrator friend Brad Slaight. Yes, he kind of resembles a deep sea diver, but those are actually Blue Circles for diabetes awareness on his head and hands, People!
And with that... Envelopes Please...
Introducing the Diabetes Oscar Winners for 2019
Most Exciting New Diabetes Tech
Senseonics' implantable Eversense CGM: This was a clear winner from the DOC votes, and we happen to agree. It changes the game on continuous glucose monitoring technology, as it's the first implantable device of its kind that was just approved and launched in mid-2018. Of course, we do note that the Eversense still requires daily fingerstick calibrations to check its accuracy and must be manually charged each day -- unlike both the Dexcom G6 and also the Abbott Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring system that gave us the LibreLink app allowing smartphone scanning last year.
Many other nominations came in from the community -- ranging from DIY Looping tools that embrace the #WeAreNotWaiting mantra, to companies like One Drop that offer freshly designed, low-cost meters and test strips connected with an app-based coaching service.
Best Public Display of Diabetes
Props to American Eagle's Aerie line of lingerie, which captured the most D-Community votes thanks to the model who was sporting her insulin pump and CGM device while modeling their undergarments. Diabetes wasn't the only health condition on display, as the company also included models in a wheelchair and living with other health issues. The awareness-building on that is huge and we applaud the effort... and award AE a D-Oscar!
Neck-to-neck in second place were Miss America 2018 Brittany Wagner, who's been raising D-awareness in her father's honor, and Quincy the Koala sporting CGM at the San Diego Zoo (who sadly died in December of pneumonia).
Best Policy Change
Medicare's move to support smartphone app use with CGMs is the bigger winner here by a clear majority! The agency's moves to cover the OmniPod tubeless pump and Abbott Libre Flash Glucose Monitor also received significant votes.
An honorable mention goes out here to the write-in nominee "Kevin's Law," a state-focused legislative push now effective in many states across the USA that allows for emergency prescription refills on insulin -- to prevent suffering and even death when patients are in dire need. That's a no-brainer to us, so we're very glad to see more states taking up this policy change.
If you've paid attention to all the news this past year about D-Community collaborations, then it should be no surprise that the powerhouse nonprofit Beyond Type 1 takes this award by storm. They're collaborating with soooo many others in the community... Yep, pretty much everyone! It seems like there's an announcement of a new BT1 partnership or program all the time, and we're thrilled to see this group growing and expanding to reach more in the community -- including its latest launch of Beyond Type 2, geared toward the type 2 diabetes community.
A close second in the voting was the collaboration between Tidepool and Loop, in which the nonprofit data platform company has kicked off a project to officially support Loop, the currently DIY open source automated insulin delivery app for iPhone.
Trailing a bit in third place was One Drop with Apple Health and the Apple Watch.
Best Emergency Relief Efforts
For this one, the most votes came in for Sen. Elizabeth Warren's proposed "Affordable Drug Manufacturing Act" that's aimed at the federal government getting into the business of generic medicines (including insulin) and thereby bringing down prices. While this is only a Congressional proposal and would take years to implement IF it actually got approved, our community clearly gives props to the concept -- and appreciates that just making such a public display of the need for affordable medicines in itself makes an impact.
Tied for second place were the Hurricane Relief efforts of the Diabetes Emergency Response Coalition (DERC), providing medicine and supplies to people impacted by natural disasters last year -- heroic work there! -- and new emergency glucagons under development (Lilly nasal puffer and Xeris quick pen) that were filed with FDA regulators and could be approved in 2019.
Most Eye-Opening Research
The most votes came in for a big research study by T1D Exchange, which found that (!) You have to wonder why this is so, in light of all the new devices and tech tools these days. Perhaps access and affordability are a big part of this statistic! It's also probably true that many don't use the tech and tools effectively, an education gap that sorely needs addressing. So kudos to T1D Exchange for calling attention to this, and thereby this D-Oscar category.
Runners up include: the JDRF's vision restoration project; "Spider Web" approach to beta cell preservation by Cornell University; and write-in candidate Dr. Denise Faustman, who made the news last year with some updates to her vaccine cure research findings.
Most Impressive Grassroots Advocacy
In this category, we received numerous write-in nominations for many involved in the #insulin4all movement. In fact, we gave the D-Oscar to #insulin4all last year. But for 2019, the community votes were overwhelmingly in support of Minnesota D-Mom Nicole Smith-Holt, the advocate who lost her 26-year-old son Alec to insulin rationing due to high prices. This past year, she's been on the front lines speaking up about outrageous insulin pricing and has testified before Congress, appeared on national and international media outlets, and just recently was with Congresswoman Amy Klobuchar during that Minnesota Democrat's announcement that she is running for president in 2020.
Community Resource MVP of the Year
Congrats to Beyond Type 1 and its"School Downloadables," which got the most D-Community votes in this category. They are clear, useful resources, packaged in a one-stop-shop. Not far behind in votes was runner-up "Bright Spots and Landmines" by Adam Brown, a guidebook published in 2017 but just getting traction in 2018.
An honorable mention also goes out to California D-Mom Katie DiSimone in the #WeAreNotWaiting community for her work on LoopDocs, a set of instructional resources to help people better understand and be able to use DIY closed loop technology.
Hottest Diabetes Musical Performance
Tuning our ears to the diabetes music scene (yes, there is one), we're happy to announce the D-Oscar in this category goes to "The Stuff" by T1D singer Crystal Bowersox . She created this song as a plug for Beyond Type 1. Some readers may remember that Crystal got her start on American Idol, and she's been visiting diabetes camps and collaborating with industry over the years to raise awareness and inspire others with diabetes. Kudos, Crystal!
Most Dope D-Advocate
By a huge margin, the community voted to give this particular D-Oscar to JeVonda Flint, a type 1 who's quite the presence on Facebook. She's become legendary in her boldness in trying out new diabetes device sites, and helping others in our community to dare and understand how to try new things. You go, Girl!
The "Grumbly Award"
We seriously wish this wasn't still an issue, but outrageous insulin pricing and all those involved in that process remain what frustrates our D-Community most. Yup, the anger-inducing estimated annual insulin cost of $5,705 per person with T1D takes The Grumbly Award for 2019...
A close second in voting was politicians who won't support a meaningful Bill to ensure coverage for pre-existing conditions. We also received many write-ins pinging all the responsible insulin pricing players including Big Pharma, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) and Payors. We're shaking our fist and grumbling at all of them as we work to address these issues...
Lifetime Achievement in Diabetes
All those who devote their life to diabetes care deserve some major recognition, so props to all the nominees in this category! For 2019, Dr. Fred Whitehouse in Michigan received by far the most votes -- for his historic role in diabetes going back to his practicing with the legendary Dr. Eliott Joslin many decades ago, to being a part of the landmark DCCT research in the '80s and his continuing practice up until his retirement in recent years.
UPDATE: We are also sad to report that just days after we published this post, word came that Dr. Whitehouse had passed away on March 1, 2009.
In addition to Dr. Whitehouse, we also must offer special recognition to diabetes and pregnancy specialist Dr. Lois Jovanovicwho passed away in 2018. She was truly a Women of Honor in Diabetes History who impacted the way diabetes care is handled for expectant mothers with diabetes everywhere. Without her, our D-world would not be the same today.
THANK YOU to EVERYONE who voted & contributed!