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Hopes, Challenges, and Rants: Outlooks on Health and Diabetes in 2016 from Experts Across Healthcare and Technology

Updated: 8/14/21 6:00 amPublished: 2/9/16

What do some of the leaders in healthcare and technology have to say about the state of diabetes at the start of 2016? Read on below for some of their hopes, challenges, and in the case of Dr. Irl Hirsch even some annual “rants” on where diabetes care is today and where it needs to go in the future.

“I can see now, five years down the line, a world in which there will be multiple hybrid closed loop systems available for people, a world where there will be type 2 drugs repurposed for type 1. We can have several more cards turned over like encapsulation and glucose-responsive insulins. We are on path to make living with this disease less frightening… We have worked to ensure that we are doing the right things for this organization over the long haul. I’d like to think that we’re near the finish line. We are fully committed to seeing it through. We want a world without type 1 diabetes.”

- Derek Rapp, CEO of JDRF, JDRF Mission Summit 2016

“For wearables to work, you have to wear them and you have to wear them all the time. Not just for the hour you are going for a walk. It’s about the other 23 hours.”

- Sonny Vu, President of Fossil Group (recently acquired Misfit wearables) at CES 2016

“There are over 100 companies [at JP Morgan Healthcare Conference] presenting on cancer. I bet if I searched diabetes it would be eight. It’s a huge problem. Last year I gave the audience a choice to invest in gobbledy-gook syndrome or diabetes and everyone in the room picked gobbledy-gook syndrome because there’s a marker. It’s a huge problem there and I don’t see it getting any better.”

- Dr. Joseph Gulfo, Rothman Institute of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2016

“One of the greatest stories of the 20th century was that we doubled the life expectancy of adults. Now we need to make sure we have all the supports in place to assure not just a long life but a high quality of that long life.”

- Terry Fulmer, president of the John A. Hartford Foundation in a recent New York Times article

“The most profound thing that strikes me is the quality of the science – the ability to benefit patients is better now than it has ever been. But I live in tension in profound ways every day with the Gates Foundation. How do we take great science and innovation and help people be healthier? The deal making is very exciting, but we want to bring deals that bring that science to the people who need it the most.”

- Dr. Susan Desmond Hellman, CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation at JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 

“It’s remarkable that as we get better phones and tablets, the price comes down. In healthcare, almost uniquely, as we innovate the price goes up. What does it look like to innovate in a world of cost constraints?”

- Dr. Susan Desmond Hellman, CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation at JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 

 “…many parts of the world still do not have access to insulin due to cost. For example, it was reported in 2010 that in the Democratic Republic of the Congo one-sixth of people with type 1 diabetes die within 5 years of diagnosis. It was also reported that life expectancy for a child in rural Mozambique in 2003 is less than that of a child in Boston before the discovery of insulin. At the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) meeting in December 2015, I learned that in low-income countries the World Health Organization has a goal for access to insulin set at 80%, meaning it is acceptable that 20% of the population won’t have insulin. The sad part of this is that many of these poor countries don’t make the 80% bar….The revelation for everyone is while we rant about our pricing and dysfunctional systems in the United States, there are still too many people who do not have access to a life-saving product that was discovered 95 years ago.”

- Dr. Irl Hirsch (MD, University of Washington) in his annual “rant” that appeared in January’s Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics

 “We are in a culture where we compromise long term health for short term results… In every successful change, there is a pioneer to push and a champion to pull.”

- Robert Greene (Senior consultant and leadership coach with JONES) at CPS Lectures #100


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