As many of you may already know, CDN celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2020 - 10 years of peer support for young adults living with diabetes! Over the last few months, due to both this milestone and the COVID-19 Pandemic, we have spent a lot of time reflecting on where CDN has been and where we are going.
Ten years ago, no one in the diabetes space was addressing the needs of the young adult T1D population - their health, their goals, or their needs. Through an empowered community of Chapter leaders and members, CDN sought to ensure that this voice, your voice, would be heard and listened to by those in power - be it at advocacy organizations, pharmaceutical and device companies, or congress. It is because of these collective efforts, that young adults with diabetes are now considered a key demographic when planning for new therapies, laws and regulations, and proposals to healthcare reform!
Throughout 2021 CDN will continue to learn and listen closely - cataloguing ideas and opportunities given the evolving landscape in healthcare, higher education, and society.
While 2020 introduced unprecedented challenges, we also accomplished things we wouldn’t have thought possible before. We hosted over 50 virtual events in 2020, when we hosted none in 2019. We conducted national surveys to gather info about how the pandemic impacted your education, your career plans, and your dreams. We have shared this information with key decision makers in advocacy organizations across the country, and as such, launched an Insurance 101 resource -- our first step in creating additional resources that will help demystify the most confusing parts of navigating adulthood with a chronic condition.
What we have seen in 2020 is a fundamental shift in the world. Throughout 2021 CDN will continue to learn and listen closely - cataloguing ideas and opportunities given the evolving landscape in healthcare, higher education, and society. Because 2021 isn’t just a new year for CDN, it’s the start of a new decade! Throughout the year we will be working across our network to define what the future looks like for this community. From having CDN Chapters on campuses across all 50 states, to piloting a new way of inspiring the next generation of leaders in the diabetes sector, and to partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities - we are excited for where the new year will take us.
I’m sure many of you will agree that 2020 has catalyzed a fundamental shift in the world. And as we usher in a new decade, CDN is excited to be a relentless voice and driving facilitator of thoughtful conversation around topics important to young adults living with T1D.
Throughout the year we will be working across our network to define what the future looks like for this community.
- Peer Support - Feeling alone and misunderstood is not a new feeling for young adults with diabetes, however the pandemic has exacerbated these feelings of isolation. Now more than ever, peer support and community is essential to our general wellbeing and mental health. And yet the pandemic has also removed many barriers to connection, such as geography, making it possible for more young adults to connect through CDN and its network. This year we have seen 44 new CDN Chapters start virtually to address this critical need for community! In 2021, we look forward to growing the Chapter Network to reach campuses across all 50 states including working more closely with Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) - As a community we value diversity and equity, and strive for inclusivity in our lives and on our campuses. As an organization, CDN has always valued transparency and growth, but we have also existed within a historically privileged system - higher education - and our demographics reflect that system. Ensuring young adults with diabetes are living a healthy life so they can pursue their dreams without compromise, requires that we take greater strides to include all people in our network -- and we are committed to doing the necessary and ongoing work. We have been working internally on a holistic approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion across the organization. Learn more by clicking here.
- Affordability & Access - Affordability and accessibility matters, and we are outraged by the current environment where profits are prioritized over lives. As people who live with diabetes, we understand that we’re all fragile and vulnerable. CDN believes that the most effective solutions will only come through dialogue and problem solving with those involved at all levels, and will continue to offer our programs free of charge. Learn more how we are approaching these challenges here.
- Awareness of, and access to, critical diabetes tools - CDN prioritizes resources and programming that ensures young adults are able to understand and get access to the innovations that are needed to thrive with diabetes. We are dedicated to reducing the burden of care and self advocacy so that young adults may pursue their dreams without compromise, and are excited to share a suite of new transition to independence resources -- from deciphering health insurance, to maximizing time in range, socializing safely, and more, this year.
We look forward to working with you, and all members of our network, this year as we confront the biggest issues facing those living with diabetes. As always, send us your thoughts and feedback. Stay safe!