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Looking Back on 2020 with Gratitude

By Kelly Close

As 2020 comes to an end, we reflect on the past year with immense gratitude for our community. In 2021 at diaTribe, we will continue to focus on helping people with diabetes and prediabetes live happy and healthy lives.

When I launched The diaTribe Foundation on Christmas Eve eight years ago, I never imagined that millions of people around the world would come to our website looking for guidance during a pandemic. Never in my wildest dreams could I have dreamt of a world in such dire need of hope and direction. So, you can understand my deep gratitude for the ceaseless work of so many people to help us navigate these uncertain times, to care for us, and to get the information that people living with diabetes need to stay healthy.

COVID-19 laid bare the additional risks of living with diabetes: the virus threatened everyone, but it particularly threatened those with pre-existing conditions – and among those conditions, diabetes was near the top of everyone’s list. We at diaTribe responded to this crisis and wrote more than 60 articles related to COVID-19 – some of which, not surprisingly, were among our most read of the year.

COVID-19 has also affected communities of color unequally, in much the same way diabetes does. This motivated us to give greater attention to the disturbing racial disparities in health care and health outcomes and to the social determinants that lie behind this inequity. We explored these topics in 12 articles this year and will continue advocating for greater health equity.

If anything, the pandemic only intensified our mission to give people living with diabetes more accurate, understandable, and actionable information. diaTribe continues to provide coverage of advances in diabetes treatments and technology, lifestyle hacks, nutrition and recipe ideas, and so much more. This year we launched a world-wide coalition of researchers, clinicians, and patients, as well as other diabetes organizations, to advocate for the adoption of Time in Range as a better way to manage blood glucose. We published a new series of articles to help people recently diagnosed with diabetes and updated all of our diabetes device resource pages (both projects thanks to the support of the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation). We launched a new series focused on eye health, and we now offer over 25 selected popular articles in Spanish.

You showed us how much you value our work by the increase in our readership numbers over the past 12 months. Visitors to our website and new subscribers to our weekly publication, Learn, increased nearly 20% compared to last year. I want to thank all of our over 3 million readers, and I welcome those of you who just joined us. Everyone at diaTribe is sincerely humbled that you turn to us for information about your health and well-being.

Ironically, COVID-19 allowed diaTribe to significantly expand its reach, as we could no longer engage physically at conferences and gatherings ­– where most of our live educational events would take place. Instead, we moved these events online, allowing us to reach over 6,000 people in 2020. A prime example of this is our Musings Under the Moon series, which went from a single live event for attendees of the ADA’s annual Scientific Sessions to a series of three virtual panel discussions, addressing topics “In the shadow of COVID-19,” all free and open to the public. By going online and expanding our programming, we reached nearly seven times more people, and our virtual audience included many more people living with diabetes from around the country and indeed the world. Recordings of all these fascinating discussion panels remain online if you happened to miss the live broadcasts.

While we miss seeing everyone in person, virtual gatherings are also very valuable – the positive feedback has been overwhelming – so we will continue offering online “Musings” panel discussions to all our readers in 2021.

Other live diaTribe events also went online in 2020 (and can still be watched as recordings too): “Solvable Problems in Diabetes” was a panel of four renowned clinician-researchers from the United Kingdom – a program that would normally take place at the conference of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

Perhaps the most exciting of our online events in 2020 was the live broadcast of the “Lightning Talks” segment of our annual dSeries gathering for diabetes leaders; this year these talks centered on diabetes stigma. The event featured five amazing speakers, including an exclusive interview with actor and producer Anthony Anderson, star of the hit ABC series black-ish, moderated by David Lee Strasberg, Creative Director of the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute. You’ll be hearing more from us in the coming year about diabetes stigma and how we can put an end to it. Stay tuned!

The diaTribe Foundation also launched a new diabetes advocacy initiative in September of this year: diaTribe Change. Change will build on the years of connections diaTribe has cultivated with key regulators and agencies, like CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) and the FDA, to champion the issues most important to people with diabetes. These include insulin costs, access to healthcare, and our first call to action for the continuation of telehealth coverage beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re thrilled to report that as of December 2, CMS has announced that telehealth coverage will remain permanent. It takes many voices to make change, and if you haven’t already, we hope you’ll sign up to be part of the diaTribe Change community.

As I reflect upon the year that is coming to an end, I am left with one unexpected but very welcome feeling: gratitude. I am grateful that my loved ones have remained healthy through the pandemic. I am grateful that our readers continue to look to diaTribe for information, advice, and news during these stressful times. And I am grateful for each of you and to our family of generous sponsors who have sustained diaTribe and allowed us to continue our work without interruption.

The diaTribe Foundation receives no government support, and we are committed to providing all of our content free and without intrusive advertisements. We can only do this because of the generosity of our sponsors and readers like you. If you aren’t already, consider becoming one of our supporters and make a donation today. We are incredibly grateful for your contributions, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support.

In closing, on behalf of the entire diaTribe team, please accept my warmest wishes for peace and good health as we begin a new year together, full of hope.

Yours truly,

kelly

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