I just discovered that there’s a new national public awareness ad campaign sponsored by the American Diabetes Association, American Association of Diabetes Educators, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the National Council of La Raza (the nation’s largest Hispanic diabetes advocacy group). What’s historic is that all these groups are coming together for the first time. Seems a signal that the powers that be realize that diabetes is the awful epidemic that it is, and are willing to put aside their differences and work together – at least for now. You can catch the campaign here.
I caught wind of this this morning on the blog, DiabetesMine, which I check frequently. What I found equally interesting is the flood of comments Amy’s (blog writer) article pulled. A third of the respondents seemed to like that the new campaign creates greater awareness of the importance of the A1c value. A third were cynical and jumped on the fact that the commercials don’t explain A1cs in the context of diabetes care, and that this campaign is only to make pharmaceutical companies richer. The last third bemoaned the fact that even though they know A1cs are important, they can’t seem to motivate themselves to better control their blood sugar.
I don’t often leave a comment on Amy’s blog but I did today because I feel strongly whatever we can do to get people more aware of the importance of controlling their blood sugar is good provided the execution is well done. And I think this campaign, as an awareness campaign, is well done. You may want to go check out Amy's article, and the comments, but I can tell you here what I chimed in with in response to the nay-sayers:
“I’ve not much to add (to the litany of comments) except maybe this: If you're cynical, ask yourself why? Our experiences and beliefs color everything we do and say. You're coming from a point of view before you even see something. Can you suspend your point of view and see something first without an opinion?
For those having trouble putting your awareness that uncontrolled diabetes causes complications into action, take a small step. Change one action for a week, see if you don't feel better. One week, then a second week, but don't even entertain the thought of a second week till you get there. Change happens one step at a time, one day at a time. Five years from now you'll either be changed -- or not. Do nothing and you'll be the one on the stretcher, but don't let that scare you, use it as information.
If you think pharmas are only out for profit, you'll dismiss this campaign before you actually consider that people at pharmas may actually have two sides: wanting to make money and wanting to help people.
Sure, we can say there's not enough info in the ad, but it will come. Let's get patients into health care provider offices first. If you think there's not enough training for most health professionals about diabetes, I agree. If you think there's not enough attention paid to coping and emotional issues regarding diabetes, I agree, it's what I write about. But doing something constructive to change this, even if it's just raising your voice works best when your intent comes from a constructive, rather than destructive, place. Everything is energy and energy affects everything.
If you think this ad campaign should tell you everything in 30 seconds about why you need to know your A1c, likely this is the first in a succession of ads. People can only take away 1-3 messages at any one time. I know, I was in advertising. No point littering, it only creates confusion.
Let's get patients into doctor's offices, doctors better trained, up the awareness of how emotions affect chronic illness, and if you agree, choose to be a part of that effort doing something constructive rather than destructive. Anything. This effort really needs as many of us as possible.
Of course Big Dave, one of the many commentators, then commented on my comment. What fun! He said that I’m biased toward pharma companies because I give patient education seminars funded by Sanofi-Aventis and pharmas do not have our interests at heart. Of course, you just know, I had to respond. And so I said, “Big Dave, I wasn't talking to you particularly, but I will answer your concern. There are four A1c Champion programs: 2 branded, 2 unbranded. I only do the unbranded ones, meaning motivation and education, nothing to sell. And yes, people tell me all the time after I present that they learned something or something in them shifted, usually that they have to be responsible for their care, rather than leaving it up to their doctor. I don't mind cynicism, I only mind it when it closes minds. I didn't say pharmas have your best interest at heart, I just said don't discount it, along with their profit-making.
I have a feeling right now Big Dave is scripting a response to my response. I’ll leave you to check. Just proves, though, that "comment-ing" is a great way to get us all talking and thinking.