Today's guest blog comes from Manny Hernandez, a passionate advocate who has lived with diabetes since 2002. In 2008, he co-founded the Diabetes Hands Foundation, home to online communities TuDiabetes.org and EsTuDiabetes.org, the Big Blue Test, and the Diabetes Advocates program. He has published books on social media and health, and has delivered inspiring keynotes around the world at numerous diabetes conferences around the globe.
Today, the diabetes community brings its voice to FDA: how diabetes impacts our lives, what tools we’d like to have to manage our diabetes that we don’t have now, what are the shortcomings of current management options, and how we see risk in our day-to-day living with this chronic condition.
In the face of the rising diabetes epidemic, the diabetes community in the US has been mostly silent, compared to those living with various forms of cancer, HIV/AIDS, and many rare diseases. The public doesn't understand the urgency of stemming the increasing rates of diabetes and the government doesn't understand - from the patient perspective - what gaps in management options exist and the risks we take every day living with diabetes. THAT is why today constitutes an unprecedented milestone for the nearly 30 million people living with diabetes in the US.
The DOC (Diabetes Online Community) is one of the agents amplifying the diabetes patient voice. In the past decade, the DOC has grown beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, connecting and empowering hundreds of thousands that have come out of the diabetes closet, and reminding millions more that still quietly lurk that they are not alone.
The DOC has started getting more involved by raising its voice through campaigns like #DOCasksFDA led by the diaTribe Foundation, making today’s meeting a reality, and #StripSafely, which translated into record-breaking numbers of comments from advocates about the proposed FDA guidance on blood glucose monitoring.
At the Diabetes Hands Foundation (DHF), we’ve been closely involved with all these initiatives, fueling and amplifying the efforts of diabetes advocates willing to make sure that we have “a patient at every table”, and working to develop more advocates within the community to help us complement our passion for the cause with an in-depth understanding of the issues at stake.
We’re making progress in growing our patient advocate community. DHF’s Diabetes Advocates program now has nearly 500 members, 125 of whom gathered this summer for the first-ever day-long diabetes advocacy MasterLab.
Now the American diabetes community needs to MASSIVELY break its silence, to make our voices heard in DC and all places where life-changing diabetes policy decisions are made. Join this movement, by completing this 5-minute survey.
You still have time to register for today’s Virtual Town Hall with FDA: the webinar will take place today, from 1-4 pm EST. And tomorrow, November 4, remember to go vote. It’s one of the most powerful advocacy tools we have!