As Diabetes Canada tackles Canada’s diabetes epidemic, it is strengthening its collaboration with other advocacy groups that have complementary goals.
Faced with a large and complex problem with multiple contributors, Diabetes Canada has recently put more resources into achieving change at the system level, which includes more advocacy to support healthy public policy. Increasingly, this means partnering with other organizations on specific issues, says Dr. Jan Hux, president and CEO of Diabetes Canada.
“We see the value of the ‘collective impact’ model for implementing change – the concept that no one organization acting alone can solve huge problems and that some collaboration is vital,” she says. “This doesn’t mean organizations duplicate actions, but they can agree on goals and contribute to achieving them in their own way.”
One example is the updated Canada Food Guide, released in January 2019. Diabetes Canada was among multiple groups with a stake in healthy eating policies that provided input into the process. Diabetes Canada has also joined with other organizations to advocate for a ban on the marketing of unhealthy foods to children.
“We have worked alongside the Childhood Obesity Foundation and Heart & Stroke on the marketing to children issue,” says Dr. Hux. “We haven’t crossed the finish line yet, but we recognize we are stronger by standing together.
Diabetes Canada also continues to strive for widespread impact by advocating for increased access to publicly funded diabetes medications and devices – and as it champions development of Diabetes 360o, a national diabetes strategy, it is also working with a number of provinces on development of similar strategies.
By 2021, it would be great if the world can also look at Canada as a world leader in the management of diabetes and a stronger supporter of research that will lead to a cure for diabetes.— Dr. Jan Hux president and CEO of Diabetes Canada
Recent polling data from Ipsos Reid shows strong support from Canadians for the types of initiatives Diabetes Canada is undertaking.
Among the key findings: 79 per cent of Canadians are concerned that diabetes medication and devices are not affordable for all Canadians; 77 per cent are concerned about the prevalence of diabetes in Canada; and 69 per cent are concerned with the cost of diabetes to the country’s health-care system.
With the 100th anniversary of the Canadian discovery of insulin coming up in 2021, Diabetes Canada is further energized to make meaningful change, says Dr. Hux. She says the drive will continue to create a nationwide diabetes strategy and to significantly increase diabetes research funding.
“The eyes of the diabetes world will be turned to Canada in 2021, and we will be celebrating what insulin represents in terms of progress for people with diabetes.
“While we celebrate, we must also continue to move forward. By 2021, it would be great if the world can also look at Canada as a world leader in the management of diabetes and a stronger supporter of research that will lead to a cure for diabetes.”
Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.