Diabetes conferences and scientific meetings in 2020 have looked very different than in previous years. It looked as though we were off to a flying start with a successful ATTD in Spain back in February. But not long after all the attendees returned to their corners of the globe, the world turned upside down and decided that, along with everything else, in-person meetings were done.

Major professional conferences such as those run by ADA, DUK, EASD, ISPAD, ADS & ADEA and IDF have all either happened, or will be happening, virtually, with a Zoom (or other) platform being where we meet, rather than a massive conference centre in a major city.

As ever, I search for a silver lining and if there is one it is this: the pivot to virtual conferences means that some of the main barriers in the way preventing PWD attending diabetes conferences are somewhat reduced. With travel, accommodation and a lot of the other expenses out of the way, it may be easier for advocates who would like to attend to find their way in. Let’s look at that as the disruption we needed to have to get PWD flocking to meetings in droves.

There is still the matter of registration passes, and we know that is not always the easiest thing to overcome. The registration fee is significant, and some conferences only allow HCPs and researchers in. Usually, press passes provide a way to get passed security, but they require letters of assignment (sometimes from diabetes organisations who ask PWD to act as ‘on the ground’ reporters), or other criteria be met. And, of course, there are invitations to attend satellite events extended from device and drug companies to some advocates. While there is often criticism at these methods, they have meant that there are PWD at conferences, many of whom provide information back to the community.

At ATTD, there was a new way in. Advocacy group #dedoc° launched a new program, #dedoc° voices, which you can read all about here. For the pilot of the program in Madrid, the diabetes advocates whose applications were successful had access to all parts of the meeting.

#dedoc° voices is happening again for EASD (coming up next month), and it’s not too late to apply. And as an added bonus, successful applicants will also receive registration to the ISPAD conference in October. ISPAD is the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes, so if you are a parent of a kid with diabetes involved in advocacy and peer support, you may be super keen to attend this one.

To apply, go here. #dedoc° voices is open to PWD now, so if you have always wanted to attend a major diabetes conference, there is nothing stopping you from applying, right now. Any one from anywhere around the world can apply – the only consideration is how you’ll manage time zone horrors if you don’t live in the same zone as the conference. (But please don’t come crying to me about that – I’ve spent the last six months settling in for hour long meetings hosted out of Europe of the US which begin long after sunset and involve perky people just waking up while I yawn and struggle not to fall asleep in my Zoom square!)

What are you waiting for? Apply now and come be a part of one of the biggest diabetes meetings in the world. I promise there will be lots of other PWD there for you to (virtually) meet up, and share ideas with. Come say hi!


I am an advisor to the #dedoc° voices program. I do not receive any payment for this role.