A UK academic tour for the ACBRD

In the interests of strengthening existing collaborations and building new ones, Jane, Jessica and Elizabeth visited diabetes researchers and clinicians in various parts of England in the weeks following the conference. Jane and Elizabeth visited Dr Debbie Cooke at University of Surrey to progress plans for a UK/Australia survey of quality of life among people with diabetes.

by Prof Jane Speight, Dr Jessica Browne and Dr Elizabeth Holmes-Truscott


An important aim of this study will be to identify the right outcome measures for the forthcoming DAFNEplus trial. Also at the University of Surrey, Jessica and Elizabeth spent a very productive day with Dr Kimberly Smith to advance diabetes stigma research in the UK. Jessica gave a presentation about her research to psychology and clinical care academics. Jessica also had the privilege of visiting the Behavioural Insights Team in London, who are leading the way in the application of behavioural sciences to population-level health, social, and economic problems.

Jane visited Prof Simon Heller (University of Sheffield) to progress research on DAFNEplus, to update him on plans for the quality of life survey and to progress a grant application focused on hypoglycaemia. Jane and Elizabeth then met up in Leicester, where they visited Dr Marian Carey and several colleagues at the Leicester Diabetes Centre. Several useful discussions were had focused on diabetes distress, structured education and psychological insulin resistance. Elizabeth gave a well-received presentation about her PhD work focused on psychological insulin resistance.

Last but not least, Jane and Elizabeth then spent the several days working with Prof James Shaw and colleagues at the University of Newcastle to progress their collaborative research on the psychosocial outcomes from the Hypo COMPaSS trial and the UK Islet Transplant Consortium studies.

On a personal level, a highlight of the trip was a visit to the Palace of Westminster, where Jane, Jessica and Elizabeth were granted a private tour of the House of Lords, House of Commons, and other areas of the UK Parliament. We were shocked to see, just the following week, the news of the Westminster terror attack. Our thoughts go out to all those affected by this tragedy.

Acknowledgements: Dr Elizabeth Holmes-Truscott’s travel was supported by a JDRF Early Career Travel Grant, Dr Jessica Browne was supported by Deakin University conference travel grants and Prof Jane Speight was supported by Diabetes Victoria.