Turning living with diabetes into a triumph

Engaging the public and changing perceptions about this often-misunderstood disease are important in changing diabetes' trajectory.

More than 29 million people live with diabetes in the U.S., at least one in every 11 people, and the American Diabetes Association strives to provide information, research, and advocacy to improve the lives of everyone affected by the disease.

Diabetes touches everyone, and raising awareness about its impact — every day — is critical. The association is the nation’s largest voluntary health organization and utilizes multiple tactics and channels to reach the many audiences it supports.

To recognize this year’s American Diabetes Month in November, the association launched an innovative and engaging public awareness campaign called This Is Diabetes. Through an extensive social media campaign on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, This Is Diabetes invited people across the country and around the world living with diabetes - and those who love them - to share the daily triumphs and challenges of life with diabetes, using #ThisIsDiabetes. Those moments took the form of photos, videos, stories, poems, and drawings.

From the woman living with Type 1 diabetes who was finally able to have her "miracle baby," to the aunt and niece who work together to manage their Type 2 diabetes, the campaign gave patients and caregivers a unique opportunity to share their stories with the American public.

These testimonials painted the picture of moments of victory for people living with diabetes, while also highlighting the urgent need for action to prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes in the 86 million Americans living with pre-diabetes, develop advances for care, and find a cure. Through this vivid storytelling, the association aimed to inspire the public to a greater understanding of diabetes and the urgency needed to address this public health crisis.

Engaging the public and changing perceptions about this often-misunderstood disease are important in changing diabetes’ trajectory — in terms of both incidence and prevalence. Changing perceptions can lead to changing lives. Through #ThisIsDiabetes, the association is striving to achieve both.

Resource File

Anna Baker, MD, strategic communications & storytelling, American Diabetes Association

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