Behavioural diabetes and mHealth: key areas of interest at #ICBM2018Chile

Dr Amelia Lake reports on the leading trends and emerging issues at the 15th International Congress of Behavioral Medicine

By Dr Amelia Lake

There was a broad range of interesting research on show at the 15th International Congress of Behavioral Medicine, which was held 14-17 November in Santiago, Chile. Diabetes was a ‘big ticket’ topic at the well-attended conference with a strong focus on utilisation of mHealth (mobile health) technologies.

Representing the ACBRD, Virginia Hagger and Dr Amelia Lake presented some of their latest research. Virginia reported results from a qualitative study of healthcare professionals about their implementation of ‘Teens Empowered to Actively Manage Type 1 diabetes (TEAM T1)’. TEAM T1 is a structured, self-management education program for adolescents with type 1 diabetes, and their parents. While several centres had struggled to recruit participants and/or retain facilitators, there were several key learnings from centres where the program was implemented with greater success. Dr Amelia Lake gave two presentations related to the Diabetes and Eye Health project, a study funded by Vision 2020 Australia, which aimed to increase retinopathy screening uptake among people living with type 2 diabetes. The first presentation covered findings from the project evaluation, and the second focused on the process used to create two versions of the ‘Who is looking after your eyes?´ leaflets for younger and older adults with type 2 diabetes. NB: Both leaflets are freely available on the Diabetes Victoria website here and you can read more about their development here. This was part of a symposium, convened by Prof Charles Abraham, highlighting best practice development of health promotion resources.

Virginia Hagger wrapping up her presentation on health professionals experiences of the Team T1 program:


One very well-received symposium (with what must be the longest title on record) was: Behavioural interventions for prevention and management of type 2 diabetes and complications: translation and cross-learning across settings and disease spectrum. Those who were not put off by the early Saturday start, were rewarded with three outstanding presentations. The first, by Adjunct Professor Pilvikki Absetz described the experience of implementing a program to link healthcare and community in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes across three very different geographic settings. Her conclusions were that standardisation of program function is a key consideration when translating a program into different communities, with culturally appropriate content a close second. This was followed by a heartwarming presentation by researchers from the University of Singapore, reporting on the use of an intervention to support self-care and adjustment for people with end-stage kidney disease. Symposium discussant Professor Ed Fisher described the work, which was led by Associate Professor Konstadina Griva, as a great example of continuous patient care through to end of life. Professor Brian Oldenburg completed the symposium with a presentation of great interest to the ACBRD. He described the My Diabetes Coach (MDC) program, a mHealth app designed to support people with type 2 diabetes to manage their condition on a daily basis. Prof Jane Speight is a co-investigator on the NHMRC-funded partnership grant for MDC, and Shaira Baptista (PhD candidate), who is passionate about all things mHealth, has been one of the key MDC team members. To read more about the role of technology in diabetes check out previous blogs on this topic here.

Professor Brian Oldenburg presenting findings from the My Diabetes Coach mHealth program:


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