“EP196: Advocating for Diabetes Advocacy, With Kelly Close, Founder of the diaTribe Foundation and dQ&A”
by Stacey Richter

Click here to listen

Kelly Close is the founder of the diaTribe Foundation and dQ&A as well as Close Concerns. Today we talk about how health care professionals and organizations can help diabetes patients feel empowered and do well. The diaTribe Foundation started out as a newsletter but today is much more than that. It’s a place where those with diabetes and their loved ones can go for information and peer support. It’s also a strong advocacy group. The diaTribe Foundation’s mission is to work to advocate for action and to improve the lives of people with diabetes and prediabetes.

You can learn more by going to diatribe.org, follow diaTribe on Facebook and Twitter, and check out diatribe.org/foundation and diatribe.org/brightspots.

Kelly Close founded Close Concerns in 2002; its mission is to make everyone smarter about diabetes. At Close Concerns, Kelly and her team write approximately three million words each year on diabetes, prediabetes, obesity, and digital health for Closer Look, a highly praised service covering the goings-on in the field. Kelly’s passion for the field comes from her extensive professional work as well as from her personal experience, having had diabetes for over 30 years. Kelly is the author of more than 30 peer-reviewed manuscripts as well as Targeting a Cure for Type 1 Diabetes: How Long Do We Have to Wait?, a widely praised book published by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in 2013. She also wrote the foreword for the widely praised Bright Spots & Landmines by Adam Brown, published in 2017. Kelly is an associate editor of Clinical Diabetes, a journal focused on diabetes for primary care physicians published quarterly by the ADA. Close Concerns is a winner of the ADA’s “Excellence in Health Communications” Award, and Kelly and her team write a quarterly column in Journal of Diabetes, a peer-reviewed journal based in Shanghai.
Kelly chairs the diaTribe Foundation, a nonprofit established in 2013 to improve the lives of people with diabetes and prediabetes and to advocate for action. She is also the founder of diaTribe.org, begun in 2006 as an educational resource for people with diabetes; diaTribe.org’s free educational mailers go to over 100,000 people every 2 weeks. Before starting Close Concerns and the diaTribe Foundation, Kelly’s work focused on life sciences more broadly. Over nearly a dozen years, she worked on Wall Street (investment banking at Goldman Sachs, equity research at Merrill Lynch) and at McKinsey & Company, where her work centered on life science, managed care, and nonprofit organizations.
Kelly has a BA in economics and English from Amherst College, magna cum laude, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She was a founding board member of the Institute for Responsible Nutrition, led by University of California, San Francisco’s Robert Lustig, MD, and a previous executive board member of the Diabetes Hands Foundation and the Behavioral Diabetes Institute. She and her husband and three children are cohosts of the popular San Francisco–based discussion series CPS Lectures.


01:22 Why Kelly started diaTribe.
02:22 Empowering patient decisions and disease management.
03:51 The power of numbers in making change.
04:12 Other advocacy groups inside and outside the diabetes realm.
05:09 Paying attention to direct costs as well as indirect costs.
05:44 The four areas of constraints to obtaining the outcomes desired in treating diabetes.
06:34 Behavior design and behavior change.
07:52 Overcoming diabetes constraints.
08:18 “You can’t know where you want to go with your diabetes management until you know where you are.”
10:10 Supporting patients and continuous glucose monitoring.
13:01 “What’s not going well here, and what’s changeable?”
15:18 “Until we’re doing much more to create healthy communities and supporting communities, we will not be successful.”
15:52 Go to diatribe.org/brightspots for educational materials for your diabetes patients.
17:00 Avoiding stigmatizing language.
17:40 Ensuring you have a diabetes educator or social worker who understands what resources are available.
17:51 Finding community organizations like Wellville—EP118 with Rick Brush.
18:40 The dichotomy of engaged patients vs those who aren’t.
19:39 The importance in understanding where patients are coming from and their emotional well-being.
21:24 The impressiveness of Kaiser moving half of their appointments to telehealth.
23:02 Health technologies helping to improve diabetes outcomes and how they are finding reimbursement.
24:46 Innovated payers funding diabetes research to improve outcomes.
25:48 The excessive expenses associated with diabetes today.
28:12 “The only good thing about this spending … [is] that a lot could happen to reduce that.”
28:59 Houston’s efforts to make an impact on diabetes in the community level.
30:44 “I think today the really forward-thinking companies are really thinking about stakeholder value.”
32:10 You can learn more by going to diatribe.org, follow diaTribe on Facebook and Twitter, and check out diatribe.org/foundation and diatribe.org/brightspots.

Please subscribe if you enjoyed the episode. Also, consider leaving a rating and review on any of the online players so we can continue to improve our offerings. Thank you for your help.
Click here to subscribe via iTunesClick here to subscribe via Google Play Click here to subscribe via Stitcher   Click here to subscribe via Soundcloud   Click here to subscribe via iHeart Radio    Click here to subscribe via Spotify