For some time now, I’ve been meaning to share with our readers the inspiring story of Kelly Close and the wonderful organization she started called diaTribe.
Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 18, Kelly has dedicated most of her professional life to helping clinicians, researchers and especially patients learn more about diabetes and improving outcomes. In 2002, she started Close Concerns, a foundation that advocates for better education, access to improved therapies, and a health care system that encourages providers to offer personal care to those with diabetes.
Four years later, Kelly launched a FREE online patient-focused publication known as diaTribe – Making Sense of Diabetes that empowers readers with “useful, actionable information” to help them live healthier. The enormous popularity of the site led to the birth of diaTribe Foundation, whose mission is to improve the lives of people with diabetes and prediabetes, and to advocate for action. They cover at least 50 conferences annually and track over 100 companies that serve patients and providers dealing with diabetes and obesity.
The editors, contributors and advisory board for diaTribe are a “Who’s Who” of thought leaders, doctors, specialists, educators and “hero torchbearers” like Close who share their struggles and successes of living with diabetes. Their columns cover a wide range of issues from reviews of the latest drugs, trials and devices, to better habits and management tips (including one column called “Thinking like a Pancreas” by renowned educator Gary Scheiner).
diaTribe DOES NOT accept any advertisers for their publication, so there are no subjective promotions for specific brand medications or devices. For this reason, along with the team’s passion for the cause, there appears to be a high level of trust from people who use the site and its quality resources to help them better manage their diabetes.
For companies like CCS Medical, diaTribe is viewed as a leading authority in the fight against this global pandemic. diaTribe provides arguably the highest quality industry news, and they offer great care ideas based on real-world patient experience, including the latest in cures, treatments and prevention approaches.
Kelly Close leverages her skills as an accomplished management consultant (with an MBA from Harvard Business School) to create a stronger community of support for diabetes patients.
Last year, she was invited by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to organize a workshop on “Outcomes Beyond A1c” in partnership with other leading diabetes organizations.
Close did one better by inviting diaTribe readers to submit a short video clip to the FDA that discusses their specific struggles and what they would want to see from a care management regime that transcends A1c. She also provided links for readers to register for the event or submit written comments, but the video offering was a brilliant opportunity for several members to participate in this seminal workshop.
diaTribe also conducted an online survey in advance of the meeting that entailed 3 categories of people with diabetes and reported the results at the event. The 3,455 respondents included those with type 1 diabetes, those with type 2 diabetes using insulin and those with type 2 diabetes not using insulin.[i]
I believe that the comprehensive input from diaTribe loyalists which Close delivered was the primary reason this FDA meeting attracted leaders from the pharmaceutical industry. She told the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC) that the workshop was “very positive and collaborative” and felt that “the FDA really wanted to listen.”[ii]
I would argue that everything she touches draws very attentive listeners, and in this example, it’s no surprise that top stakeholders wanted to hear what “her people” had to say regarding which indicators regulators should consider for determining new therapies other than A1c that could be effective.
By her people, I am talking about the 1.5 million people with diabetes who utilize the diaTribe site religiously for the latest developments and innovations; not to mention the hundreds of diabetes educators who gain invaluable information from diaTribe on how new therapies work in the real world.
In summary, if you are not getting the diaTribe regular emails and you care about what is happening in the world of diabetes I cannot recommend this resource enough.