The Anthology of Bright Spots in Type 2 Diabetes was conceived during The diaTribe Foundation’s d16 Executive Innovation Lab on Diabetes and Obesity. The purpose of the three-day event, in Palo Alto, CA in early 2016, was to bring together engaged leaders across diverse sectors to produce innovative, systems-level solutions that could reduce the societal burden of type 2 diabetes. Forty-two leaders across a range of fields attended, including prominent medical professionals, academics, manufacturing chiefs, healthcare policy experts, technology trailblazers, government decision makers, educators, media experts, food and nutrition scholars, and social-impact experts.
The Anthology of Bright Spots was one of the twelve core ideas created during d16. Several participants in the Innovation Lab asked, quite simply, “What’s working? Where can we find out about existing successes?” It quickly became clear that no such inventory exists—which meant we had no way of identifying common traits of successful interventions across different populations. Recognizing the need, one of the biggest global authorities in diabetes, Dr. James Gavin III, whose participation we were incredibly fortunate to have, boldly proposed a unified collection of successes: The Anthology of Bright Spots in Type 2 Diabetes and Prediabetes.
The Anthology is meant to serve as source of inspiration and idea-sharing. Importantly, it aims to show that type 2 diabetes is investable and in doing so, a strong return can be made and sustained—financially, physically, societally, and in many other ways. By creating a unified collection of success, or “Bright Spots,” we hope to promote awareness, collaboration, further innovation, and investment.
If something has worked in one part of the world, maybe it can work—or even be improved upon— elsewhere. While this collection is currently largely US-based, we look forward to expansion to more global programs. We aim for the diabetes ecosystem globally to break out of its oft-mentioned silos, collaborate on promising initiatives, prompting investment, and then innovating, replicating, and scaling – and repeating. Specifically, we aim for this Anthology to inform and inspire current and potential funders about what their dollars can actually do to combat the twin epidemics of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, all
to the end that health inequity broadly speaking can be meaningfully reduced.
We began our research for the Anthology with a focus prevention for several reasons. First, prevention presents a massive opportunity to save both lives and money. In the United States, the direct costs of diabetes, not counting lost productivity and early death or disability, is nearing $200 billion per year, and growing fast. Over 30 million Americans have diabetes, over 90% with type 2. We are convinced that care alone cannot sustainably address this crisis; widespread prevention is essential. Additionally, while we could not determine how much money is spent on prevention, it is obvious that it is substantially underfunded. Finally, while we know a good deal about what can help prevent type 2 diabetes, we still have much to learn about how to fund, implement, scale, and sustain prevention efforts.
From our focus on prevention, we expanded our research into the ways that the workplace can be a target location for chronic disease prevention and management, as well as for overall health and wellbeing promotion. A significant proportion of people spend a large fraction – in many cases even the majority – of their time at work, and as a result the workplace is a logical setting in which to encourage people to engage in healthy behavior. In addition, given that employers often bear a substantial burden of health costs, it can also be in their best interests to engage in health promotion. To be clear, we are by no means the first people to consider the worksite as an ideal setting for health promotion. Rather, our goal is to provide examples that demonstrate how workplace wellness can provide both public health benefit and improve individual lives, and as a result encourage increased investment, awareness, and innovation.
We completed our research for the Anthology by focusing on “Healthcare Teams of the Future.” We chose to examine innovative models for chronic care for several reasons. First, improved healthcare delivery for chronic disease prevention and care presents a massive opportunity for investment and cost-savings. Innovative, continuous, and collaborative care models are essential if we are to address the diabetes crisis in a sustainable, cost-effective way. And, we need education models that prepare health professional to design and deliver these new innovations health and healthcare.
Our hope is that this Anthology will lead to greater innovation and increased investment in preventing, managing, and treating type 2 diabetes. In our (albeit biased) view, it is one of the most urgent needs, and greatest opportunities, that exists in health today.
Ben Pallant, Amelia Dmowska, Hae-Lin Cho, Isabel Chin, and Kelly Close
The Anthology of Bright Spots was made possible with the support of: