In the past year, we’ve worked with multiple other diabetes organizations to support all people living with and at risk for diabetes. In this edition of our Mission Impact letter, the Chief Executive Officer of The Endocrine Society shares her thoughts on why collaboration is so important:
Letter from Barbara Byrd Keenan, CEO of The Endocrine Society
I’ve greatly enjoyed the growing collaboration between the ADA and the Endocrine Society. I’m a firm believer that effective partnerships are the currency of 21st century success. And when I say effective partnerships I’m not talking about logo-slapping, where a collage of organizational logos gives the appearance of partnership, when maybe only one or two groups carried the load.
The ADA led a wonderful recent example of a successful collaboration. Last fall, the United States was beset by an unprecedented rapid succession of three very powerful hurricanes. The resulting damage, floodwaters, and power outages left many people with diabetes struggling to get the medication they desperately needed.
The ADA, JDRF, and Insulin for Life led the charge to meet this need, and more than that, they invited others to the table, including the Endocrine Society. We were grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the relief effort.
It’s clear to me that together we will accomplish so much more than we can individually. We share your passion to defeat diabetes as well as your sense of urgency. We understand that the problems we face are too big to solve on our own.
The diabetes epidemic continues to grow, and the endocrine workforce cannot keep pace. Because people with diabetes cannot always see an endocrinologist for treatment, they will be cared for by primary care and advanced care professionals, certified diabetes educators, nutritionists, and others.
How do we help ensure these groups have the education and training they want and need? I believe our collaboration can be an important part of the answer. Health care professionals benefit from a unified voice offering evidence-based guidance on the treatment of diabetes.
We’ve recently seen what happens when organizations disagree about effective treatment. The American College of Physicians (ACP) recently recommended blood glucose targets for A1C from 7 to 8 percent, which is not aligned with ADA’s recommendations. The waters were muddied, and health care providers and patients were left asking, “Who’s right?”
Each group with a concern about ACP’s guidance could have weighed in individually but the ADA invited the Endocrine Society, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, and the American Association of Diabetes Educators to present a unified strong response. Because we were unified, our statement carried a greater gravitas, and the media took note of it with widespread coverage.
The disagreement with ACP strengthened my concerns about how we develop clinical practice guidelines. Currently each organization issues its own guidelines, but what if we worked closer together to present each guideline with that same gravitas that comes from unity? I think primary care providers and patients would love to know that our groups can offer unified guidelines that offer clear recommendations.
Effective collaborations are powerful, and I am eager to build them into our partnership. I read with great interest Dr. Felicia Hill-Briggs’s column in the previous issue of Mission Impact. She shared her passion about addressing health equity in diabetes by considering interventions based on social determinants of health. I found her column inspiring, and another example of a big issue that lends itself to partnering with others. We would love to join with you on this endeavor.
The ADA and the Endocrine Society share a passion to educate both providers and patients. We both advocate in the United States for greater access to health care and increased funding for diabetes research. And in the end, we both want to see diabetes defeated. I’d like to take our collaboration to the next level. On our own, we’ll each have our share of successes, but I have no doubt we are better together.
Barbara Byrd Keenan, FASAE, CAE
Chief Executive Officer
Barbara Byrd Keenan, FASAE, CAE, is CEO of the Endocrine Society, a global community 18,000 strong devoted to advancing hormone research, excellence in the clinical practice of endocrinology, broadening understanding of the critical role hormones play in health, and advocating on behalf of the global endocrinology community.