November 14, 2013

November Is Not the Only Month to Advocate

This blog has me thinking about diabetes advocacy. While most people in the diabetes online community are blogging the entire year, diabetes advocacy seems to enter the conversation only during the month of November. I admit I am guilty of this.

The month of October was breast cancer month; however, I remember seeing something about breast cancer almost every month. Those promoting breast cancer awareness seem to find ways to put this in the public's face every month.

Is it because diabetes shares the month of November with Alzheimer's disease that we are out done? I often see more promoting Alzheimer's disease than I do about diabetes. In prior years, I have seen more websites promoting Alzheimer's disease than promoting diabetes. Among these sites was Health Central, which this year is rather tame, compared to prior years in support of Alzheimer's disease. Yes, I am looking for information about diabetes more than Alzheimer's disease, yet Alzheimer's disease seems consistently to out do diabetes in publicity.

In reviewing several other diseases, I can see a pattern emerging. These other diseases have a distinct advantage because they have one national organization doing all the promoting and a concentrated cadre of people seeing that the message is out in front of the public.

In the community of diabetes, we have several organizations going in several different directions and constant battles for funds, most of which is supplied by BIG PHARMA. They stifle the promotion for educating the public about diabetes.

If you disagree with me on the following points, then you will have to disagree, but I feel this needs to be part of the discussion. For diabetes organizations the following need to be considered – the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), JDRF, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). The last one needs to be included even though many provide services to other diseases, but we hear about them in pronouncements from the ADA and AADE.

Then because many within the following professions treat people with diabetes, we could consider the American Medical Association, the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM), and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Because the last three groups do little to promote understanding of diabetes and do more to harm patients with diabetes, they will be excluded from further discussion in this topic.

I could say the same about the ADA and the AND, but they have their own agendas and do not have the best interests of diabetes patients in their actions. AND is a puppet of BIG FOOD and is attempting to monopolize who can teach nutrition and criminalize other nutritional professions. The ADA has their own banner and colors for American Diabetes Month. The ADA does not support unity for promotion of diabetes awareness and attempts to take credit for activities of other organizations. The ADA only promotes what they do because they are for the doctors and not the patients.

Then we come to the AADE and they feel they are exclusive to having the knowledge about diabetes and will not open the doors to help others teach anything about diabetes. Peer lay workers have proven more effective in assisting people with type 2 diabetes bring diabetes HbA1c levels down, but they are ignored as much as possible by the AADE. They do support one symbol for diabetes awareness and that is to their credit.

The AACE rather stands alone because the organization has strong ties to BIG PHARMA (like the ADA) and seldom takes part in support of diabetes awareness during any month. Even after making loud noises and having a page for reliable diabetes websites, they took down the page after having it up for less than 12 months. Even with their current leader saying type 2 patients should rely only on A1C from their doctors, at least they let someone else speak for them in “Choosing Wisely.”

The JDRF also stands alone in their promotion of diabetes awareness and does use the symbol of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) to promote diabetes during the month of November.

None of the organizations promote diabetes awareness in any other month unlike the other diseases and their organizations. I do not have any answers of how to bring the organizations together for unity in the promotion and advocacy of diabetes awareness for the month of November, plus the rest of the year. Until this can be accomplished, diabetes will continue to be the unpromoted disease needing more awareness. Diabetes patients will continue to suffer because of this lack of unity and the government will continue to decease funding where they know few objections will be raised.

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