Research – It’s Not Just for Doctors and Scientists

Vivian FonsecaI’m proud to rise to the position of the American Diabetes Association’s President, Medicine & Science, for 2012. As a longtime researcher, clinician and educator in the field of diabetes, I believe strongly in the power of science to fuel advances in treatment and prevention, and eventually lead us to a cure for this disease through clinical translation of research. Science is the cornerstone of our efforts to Stop Diabetes®.

Thanks largely to our generous donors, the Association invests more than $34 million toward research annually (which we hope to grow) and publishes even more beyond that in our scientific journals. Our projects address everything from genetics and immunology to clinical trials, diabetes education and behavioral research.

One Association-funded researcher uncovered critical areas in the brain where estrogen acts through specific receptors to prevent obesity in women. Another study may help explain why saturated fat is more likely to cause insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. And one of our newer projects seeks to understand how a mother maintains normal blood sugar during pregnancy while supplying essential nutrients to her baby, in an effort to better understand the causes of gestational diabetes. Importantly, Association- funded researchers frequently go on to obtain other research funding to keep fighting against diabetes.

But all this great research doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Of course, we need to disseminate it to health care professionals so they may translate the findings into practice. We accomplish this through our professional membership, our research journals, the DiabetesPro website and the annual Scientific Sessions, the largest diabetes meeting in the world.

But what I am most interested in is informing you, the consumers who have diabetes, who love someone with diabetes or who are just generally interested in health and wellness. Medical professionals specializing in diabetes care are on the front lines of this effort as well, but you also often come straight to the Association for credible information (as you should!). And we want to make it as easy as possible for you to access and understand our research.

It can be easy to underestimate the general public’s interest in and capacity for understanding science, but I know you’re an educated and curious bunch. You want to know the latest so that you can improve your own health and because every research outcome, however incremental, gets us one step closer to a cure.

So how do I suggest you keep up with all that’s going on in the world of diabetes research?

  • Stay tuned to social media: We pledge to post more research findings on our social media platforms. Get connected to us on this blog, Facebook or Twitter.
  • Subscribe to DiabetesPro SmartBrief: This free daily digest of diabetes news makes for a quick and informative read.
  • Subscribe to Diabetes Forecast: Our monthly consumer magazine includes research findings plus lifestyle advice, healthy recipes and inspirational stories of people who are working to Stop Diabetes.
  • Visit the research section of our website for recent developments, profiles of up-and-coming researchers, even a searchable research database.

I hope you’ll follow along as we continue to make research a priority here at the American Diabetes Association, in terms of both increasing funding levels and broadening the scope of our research program. In many ways, building the momentum needed to put an end to this disease begins with you, the knowledgeable patient.

Want to see more coverage of a specific area of research? Let us know by either commenting below or writing us at diabetesstopshere@diabetes.org.

My mission for this year as president is to communicate directly with you and inform you of our progress. Together we can Stop Diabetes.

Vivian A. Fonseca, MD
President, Medicine & Science, American Diabetes Association

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