Building international relationships for the benefit of the Australian diabetes community

A recent European academic visit provides an important foundation for supporting people with diabetes and their families.

By Dr Amelia Lake

The aim of the ACBRD is to improve support for and outcomes among people with diabetes and their families. We do this by conducting high quality research, creating knowledge and impact for a range of stakeholders, and influencing policy and practice.  A crucial element of our role involves information exchange and collaboration with consumers, policymakers, clinicians and other centres of excellence in research and clinical practice.

I have just returned from a two-month long academic visit to the UK, Ireland and Spain. The visit aimed to reinforce existing, and develop new, relationships with leaders in the related fields of diabetes, ophthalmology and behavioural medicine. During my visit, I delivered seven presentations and participated in around 15 meetings. These included with applied diabetes and/or behavioural medicine research units at National University of Ireland, University College London, Leicester Diabetes Centre, Kings College London and City University of London.

I also attended four conferences: Diabetes UK professional conference (6-8 March, Liverpool), University College London, Centre for Behaviour Change digital health conference (9-10 April, London), Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) Diabetic Eye Screening conference (12 April, London) and PsychoSocial Aspects of Diabetes (PSAD) annual Spring Meeting (26-28 April, Spain).


Summary of ACBRD at RSM invited presentation

One highlight was the invited presentation to RSM on a program of research that I completed for my PhD, which aimed to prevent vision loss from diabetic retinopathy. What impressed me most about the conference was the strong interest in use of positive language in diabetes care, an issue that we have been instrumental in promoting. A second highlight was receiving the 2019 PSAD Science Award for a publication describing my program of PhD research. The final highlight was (almost) meeting The Beatles in Liverpool!


Rubbing shoulders with rock royalty in Liverpool for Diabetes UK professional conference

Overall, the academic visit was a complete success and I am now busily following up on new connections and collaborations, all of which aim to produce better outcomes for the diabetes community. My thanks to The ACBRD, Diabetes Victoria, The Royal Society of Medicine and Deakin University for travel support.

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