Just Talking with Christel Marchand Aprigliano

Christel Marchand Aprigliano is my guest this week to talk about all things Diabetes UnConference. From the origins, to planning, from execution, to lessons learned, we cover everything. Plus, we discuss the scheduled 2016 conferences, Christel’s 5 and 10 year plan for the UnConference, and revisit her podcast from many years ago, Diabetic Feed. Enjoy.

Follow Christel on Twitter @theperfectdblog and theperfectd.com.

For more information about the Diabetes UnConference, visit diabetesunconference.com.

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Hashtag Vote4DM

The fine folks at StripSafely have created #Vote4DM, “a targeted awareness campaign that lets you ask Congress to support three bills related to diabetes already on the Hill.” The bills we’re talking about aim to coordinate federal diabetes policy, provide quality diabetes education and cover CGM for T1Ds over 65.

I recognize the importance of diabetes Advocacy – capital A, for government related stuff. If the types of change we want to see in the lives of people with diabetes is actually going to happen, we need help. Big time. That’s where Congress comes in – they control the purse that funds that major diabetes efforts and legislation.

But, I don’t know the first thing about how to approach interpreting these bills. I don’t know how to effectively communicate the importance of these bills to our elected officials. The skeptic in me doubts one voice can make a difference in all of this, especially if I’m not representing a multi-million dollar special interest group. Part of me is doubtful that a simple hashtag is enough to influence, or inform a potential vote. The cynic in me wonders if anyone in Congress actually pays attention to their Twitter feed, of if that task is outsourced to an intern and their account is just another sounding board instead of serving as a method of communication and interaction with constituents.

But doing nothing is not an option. Surely someone is paying attention to mentions and notifications – there must be a tipping point that will compel an elected official to at least become informed on what these Twitter avatars are talking about. Again, doing nothing is not an option. If we’re going to make a difference, we have to try.

StripSafely has a full walkthrough on how to participate in the #Vote4DM campaign. Once you’re logged into Twitter, you can send all of the pre-formatted tweets that they have carefully crafted. There’s a lot to parse on the page, but it will essentially boil down to clicking a link, and then sending the tweet. The entire process, informing leadership and representatives in your Congressional district about each of the bills, will take 2 minutes. That’s it.

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Strip Safely

I’ve been trying to think of an appropriate metaphor to explain the importance of test strips with respect to diabetes management but my mind keeps going back to the plane crash sequence from Die Hard 2. In it, the bad guys recalibrate sea level for one of the plane’s automated landing programs by 200 feet. Because the weather is bad, the pilots have to rely on their technology to land safely. But, since the bad guys tinkered with the system, when the plane thinks it’s at 200 feet, it’s actually crashing into the runway.

This is incredibly morbid and hyperbolic, but if you stay with me I’ll bring this back around.

The key here is that the pilots had to trust in the tools at their disposal, namely the computer system tasked with landing the plane in inclement weather. The computer system relied first and foremost on the altitude of the plane to govern the entire landing sequence. But because that core piece of data was flawed every action taken based on that number was not going to succeed. (I hope you forgive the casual language of ‘not succeeding, even if it’s just a movie, a plane crash is serious business.)

If you ignore the Hollywood factor, the basic premise still holds: actions informed and influenced by a flawed piece of data will not succeed as intended.

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