World Diabetes Day event at UF Diabetes Institute to focus on women and the disease

The University of Florida Diabetes Institute will hold a panel discussion featuring five female researchers in conjunction with World Diabetes Day on Tuesday. The topic of the panel discussion — women, diabetes and health equity — ties into the theme of this year’s international campaign.

The event will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the George T. Harrell, M.D., Medical Education Building, 1104 Newell Drive, Gainesville. It is free and open to the public.

“Our goal is to not only highlight the importance of diabetes as a whole, but to also convey its relevance to women’s health, the 2017 theme for World Diabetes Day as set forth by the International Diabetes Federation,” said Mark Atkinson, Ph.D., director of the UF Diabetes Institute and a professor in the UF College of Medicine’s departments of pathology and pediatrics. “The invited speakers will address a range of topics in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes as they relate to women’s health. Importantly, the event will showcase the institute’s ongoing strategic commitment to promoting health equity for the communities we so proudly serve.”     

The panelists and their topics are Lisa Scarton, Ph.D., R.N., a postdoctoral associate in the UF College of Nursing, Type 2 diabetes and American Indian women and the role culture plays in diabetes self-management; Laura Guyer, Ph.D., a faculty member of the UF Center for Gender, Sexualities and Women’s Studies Research, the surprising results of an intersectional analysis of Type 1/Type 2 “no shows” in diabetes education; Sarah Westen, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in pediatric psychology in the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions, insulin restriction in young women with Type 1 diabetes; Latoya O’Neal, Ph.D., an assistant professor of health and wellness in the department of family, youth and community sciences at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, academic-community based approaches for preventing and managing Type 2 diabetes among health vulnerable populations; and Ashby Walker, Ph.D., director for health equity initiatives at the UF Diabetes Institute, socioeconomic status, care utilization and the domestic allocation of Type 1 diabetes care.

The event’s moderator is Marian Limacher, M.D., senior associate dean for faculty affairs and professional development at the UF College of Medicine. Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe will deliver a World Diabetes Day proclamation at the event.

Some 422 million people around the world have diabetes and there are 1.6 million deaths directly attributed to diabetes each year, according to a 2016 report by the World Health Organization. The most common form is Type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body underproduces insulin or becomes insulin resistant. It results in elevated blood sugar that can damage organs, nerves and blood vessels. Type 1 diabetes arises when the pancreas produces little or no insulin.

The International Diabetes Federation sponsors World Diabetes Day, which has the theme this year of “Women and diabetes — our right to a healthy future.” The campaign is promoting the importance of affordable and equitable access to essential diabetes medicines and technologies for all women who have or are at risk for the disease. There are more than 199 million women with diabetes worldwide and that figure is expected to increase to 313 million by 2040, according to the group.