Mission Impact: Letters from the Presidents

This year, we’re proud to welcome Felicia Hill-Briggs, PhD, ABPP and Jane E. B. Reusch, MD to ADA. As President, Health Care & Education and President, Medicine & Science, respectively, they’ll continue to further our mission and support all people living with and affected by diabetes. Learn how they plan to do this, in their own words:

Felicia Hill-Briggs, PhD, ABPP

Letter from the President, Health Care & Education
Felicia Hill-Briggs, PhD, ABPP

I am tremendously honored to serve as the 2018 President of Health Care & Education. This is an era both of great challenge and great opportunity. As a health care professional and a researcher, I, like many of you, have witnessed the astounding evolution of diabetes treatments, devices, educational standards, and models of care delivery on one hand, and the realities of suboptimal access, reach, quality, and affordability on the other. Over my four decades of living with type 1 diabetes, I have also personally observed the inequities in care among population subgroups and the variability in diabetes quality of care among geographic regions and practices. More than ever, ADA is needed to help ensure the health of the population with and at risk for diabetes, its comorbidities, and complications.

A population health perspective provides a unifying lens through which to view the scope of challenge and opportunity for the ADA. Population health improvement strategies expand quality services and education beyond the health care setting through multisector and community partnerships. Population health maps pathways to measurable gains in the next decade and beyond through proactive, coordinated strategies for diabetes management, prevention, and equity.

During my year of presidency, I am leading two primary initiatives focused on ADA’s essential role in advancing health equity in diabetes. In February, we are launching an expert technical review committee on Social Determinants of Health (SDOH). While the importance of SDOH has come into awareness, remedying actions and their impact on diabetes population outcomes are less clear. This scientific review committee will examine the state of the evidence on SDOH interventions and their effect on diabetes outcomes, to inform recommendations for clinical and community care. A second initiative will examine closely the role, capacity, and opportunity for ADA to serve as a national resource for the dissemination of evidence-based, nationally recognized, community-delivered diabetes services. Through partnerships with academic institutions, health care practices, and our professional health care and education members who have contributed the science for these community programs, ADA can lead in ensuring reach of high-quality, community-based educational and supportive services to populations most in need across the nation.

In addition to the new initiatives, I continue to champion recent steps we have taken toward diabetes population health improvement. Here are a few highlights:

In 2017 a joint ADA and Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) consensus statement entitled, “The Use of Language in Diabetes Care and Education,” was published in Diabetes Care. This important statement addresses the impact of language on the lived experience of people with diabetes, their health care, and outcomes. As outlined in the paper, person-first, strengths-based, empowering language is provided to guide communication and improve quality.

The 2016 Diabetes Care publication of Psychosocial Care for People with Diabetes is the first ADA position statement focused on psychosocial and mental health integration into routine care. Dissemination and education channels for this position statement include an available webcast for providers, and it will be featured during the February 2018 65th Advanced Postgraduate Course. In partnership with the American Psychological Association, ADA continues its training workshops in the care of people with diabetes for psychologists. This formal, continuing education training program is increasing the professional mental/behavioral health workforce available to care for people with diabetes. The AADE is currently developing a mental health practice paper for diabetes educators in partnership with ADA.

With Diabetes INSIDE, ADA brings population-focused consulting services to health care systems and clinical practices. Population health analytics allow these organizations to take a population view of their diabetes patients, the quality of care they receive, and their outcomes. ADA provides the know-how for direct alignment of care and health care professional training with the Standards of Care.

ADA is at the forefront of primary diabetes prevention. As a dissemination partner for the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) through a grant of more than $7M over the next five years from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ADA will be able to provide the NDPP to underserved populations in the states of California, Texas, and Arizona.

Payers have also aligned with population health priorities described above. For example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued an Equity Plan for Improving Quality in Medicare. This plan outlines priorities and goals for advancing equitable care and outcomes for minority and other underserved Medicare beneficiaries through improved quality of care.

Medicare reimbursement for the NDPP rolls out in 2018. Particularly groundbreaking is the ability for the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP) to be delivered in communities, reaching persons most at-risk where they reside. Community organizations demonstrating CDC requirements and lay persons who are trained and certified as MDPP Lifestyle Coaches will be able to register as MDPP suppliers and receive reimbursement directly, rather than requiring interface with a health care system.

Finally, we will watch for further information regarding CMS’ planned reimbursement for the Collaborative Care Model, which embeds behavioral health care management and psychiatric consultation in primary care.

This year promises to be one of significant ADA advancement in diabetes population health. Our progress, as always, depends on you, our members, who bring the front-line expertise, health care delivery, patient and provider education and training, and dissemination nationally and internationally. Stay tuned!


Letter from the President, Medicine & Science
Jane E. B. Reusch, MD

It is my great pleasure and honor to serve as the 2018 American Diabetes Association President of Medicine & Science. The ADA’s mission, “To prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes,” aligns with my personal and professional mission. As an ADA member, I am confident that the mission speaks to you as well. In this introductory communication, I am going to ask you to consider why you are a member of the ADA and to tell you a bit about why and how I am involved in the ADA. I will highlight some of the current mission activities of the ADA and invite you to reach out to me.

Jane E. B. Reusch, MD

Why are you a member of the ADA? Each of you has a different type of engagement with the diabetes landscape that may involve education, practice, research, or industry relations. As a member of the ADA you are invited (and encouraged) to join interest groups that are aligned with your own professional goals. For the ADA to achieve its mission, it is crucial that each of us join in the fight against diabetes. It is a goal of the ADA to increase your impact day to day to advocate and educate toward the goal of curing this devastating disease.

What is the background that I bring to my role as President of Medicine & Science? I was attracted to the field of diabetes based on the combination of intriguing pathophysiology and as the daughter of a father with diabetes. My father’s diabetes illustrated to me the demands diabetes places on individuals and their families every day and the consequences. For my father, the consequence was a stroke with right-sided paralysis, threatened loss of his functional left leg, and an untimely death. To me, as you can appreciate, diabetes is incredibly personal.

In my work life, I am a physician scientist (AKA “the world’s best job”). As a physician scientist, I have the opportunity to care for people with diabetes, to do research to address the biological consequences of diabetes, and to educate the next generation of scientists and clinicians to address the ADA’s mission. Sincerely, my job is a privilege. Early in my career, I became aware of the challenges facing the physician scientist and the dire need for mentorship to bolster the careers of MD scientists. I have held leadership positions at my own institution and nationally to make resources available for formal career development training, career development funding, and mentoring. I am dedicated to recruiting, training, and retaining outstanding young scientists to the field of diabetes research with a special focus on the physician scientist. In addition to mentoring, effective translational research also requires teamwork, as the skill sets needed to effectively address complex biological questions rarely reside in a single lab or individual.

Similarly, as a leader within the ADA, I believe we will need to employ a model of teamwork and collaboration to change the diabetes landscape. Recently, I had the opportunity to assist in the development of a specific new membership benefit to increase Diabetes Professional Self-Efficacy (DPSE). We recently launched the Women’s Interprofessional Network of the ADA (WIN ADA) as a new ADA membership benefit. This initiative’s goals are simple, yet profound: to strengthen the voice and presence of women in diabetes research and clinical practice; to recognize the significant contributions of women to improving the lives of people affected by diabetes; and to provide development and networking opportunities to women of all career stages and interests to help them achieve their full potential. This is one example of the ADA responding to the needs of our membership.

The ADA is the leading authority for diabetes. We host the ADA Scientific Sessions, the largest diabetes meeting in the world. We publish Diabetes Care and Diabetes, two of the top journals in the world specifically focused on diabetes care and research. We fund innovative research in diabetes, and we provide the most widely disseminated Standards of Care. We support accredited clinical diabetes programs, we advocate for the rights of people with diabetes through programs like Safe at School, and we support research funding commensurate with the burden of diabetes. Plus, perhaps the ADA’s most life-changing activity, we sponsor diabetes camps for more than 6,000 children a year. Camp provides children with the skills and empowerment to take on a lifetime of diabetes. We are a powerful force for our mission.

Still, the challenges that remain to accomplishing the goals of the ADA are many. Currently, more than 30 million Americans and 422 million people worldwide suffer with diabetes, and hundreds of millions more are at risk for developing diabetes. The estimated financial burden of diabetes worldwide is greater than a trillion dollars. Predictions suggest the number of individuals with diabetes will increase to more than 600 million by the year 2040. We need to change this predicted trajectory. We need to decrease not only the number of people with diabetes, but also the burden of diabetes in their lives. In my opinion, the only way to change this unacceptable trajectory is through partnerships and teamwork.

So I ask again, why are you a member of the ADA? I will reframe that question to ask, are you willing and interested in using your skills to prevent and cure diabetes and improve the lives of all people with diabetes? How can the ADA make it possible for you to engage in its programs and to have a real impact? How can the ADA reach out to individuals with diabetes, institutions or organizations dedicated to diabetes, decision-makers for research funding and global economies to get the message out that this is an urgent and deadly disease? If you have ideas, connections, or resources to help fuel this battle, then we need you engaged…we need you to be a partner with the ADA! Please get connected with us.

I am dedicated to addressing the mission of the ADA. I hope to hear from you on how we can improve your DPSE.

With humility and passion,


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