Lilly Diabetes – Connecting the Dots

Lorraine Sisto, Mike Hoskins, Kim Vlasnik, John Lechleiter, PhD, Adam Brown, Ruth Gimeno, PhD, Scott Johnson, Leighann Calentine, David Moller, MD, George Simmons, Kris Freeman, Cherise Shockley, Scott Benner, Kelly Kunik, Kelly Close, Bennet Dunlap
Lorraine Sisto, Mike Hoskins, Kim Vlasnik, John Lechleiter, PhD, Adam Brown, Ruth Gimeno, PhD, Scott Johnson, Leighann Calentine, David Moller, MD, George Simmons, Kris Freeman, Cherise Shockley, Scott Benner, Kelly Kunik, Kelly Close, Bennet Dunlap

I recently returned from a short trip to Indianapolis, IN for a visit with Lilly Diabetes*. They hosted a summit with about a dozen people from the diabetes online community and gave us a chance to learn more about what they’ve been up to since the last meeting.

I was pleased with the meeting and felt they did a great job hosting. The group was small, which made it more intimate and easier to stick to the agenda. They made an incredible number of interesting and important people available to us. Most of these folks not only presented information, but were also around and available for further discussion through the summit.

Some of the people we spoke with (in no particular order):

  • John Lechlieter, PhD – Chairman, President, and CEO
  • Patty Martin – Senior Director, Lilly Diabetes Strategy & Operations
  • Kelley Murphy – Communications Director, Lilly Diabetes
  • Julie H. Williams – Communications Manager, Lilly Diabetes
  • Matt Caffrey – Product Brand Director
  • David Moller, MD – Vice President, Endocrine and Cardiovascular Research and Clinical Investigation, Lilly Research Laboratories
  • Ruth Gimeno, PhD – Chief Scientific Officer, Diabetes Drug Hunting Team
  • David Kendall, MD – Distinguished Medical Fellow, Global Medical Affairs, Lilly Diabetes
  • Kevin Cammack – Senior Director, Brand Marketing, Insulins
  • Deidre Ibsen – Global Brand Development Leader
  • Mitch Armbruster – Director, HR-Wellness and Productivity
  • Fionnuala Walsh – Senior Vice President, Global Quality
  • Mario Clarizia – Director of Operations, Indy API Insulin
  • Matt Edwards – Director of Operations, Indy Parenteral
  • Brian Augspurger – Manager, Device Operations

I don’t take lightly the fact that many of these people have incredibly busy schedules, yet shared their time so graciously with our group.

Corporate Responsibility

We learned some more about the work Lilly does in the diabetes community. This work often goes unnoticed and unmentioned, in my opinion, and it was good to hear more about it.

Did you know:

  • Lilly Diabetes has donated more than $20 million in insulin and other diabetes medicines, education materials, volunteers, scholarships, and special guests to camps run by the ADA in the past decade?
  • In February of 2013 Lilly Diabetes donated $90,000 to the ADA 2013 camp scholarship fund?
  • Lilly Diabetes has committed to providing more than 800,000 vials of insulin to the IDF’s Life for a Child program between 2008 – 2013?
  • Lilly Diabetes supported the Diabetes Scholars Foundation with $100,000 donation in 2013 (second year in a row)?
  • The Lilly NCD Partnership is providing over $30 million over five years to fight the rising burden of non-communicable diseases (of which diabetes is a big component) in developing nations?
  • Lilly Diabetes is working to identify care gaps, and partner with organizations, like Project Hope, to help fill those gaps?
  • Lilly has a tool, Lilly TruAssist, to help people find assistance programs?
  • Lilly also participates in the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPARx), the pharmaceutical industry’s program to make it easier to find patient-assistance programs?

These are just a few of the items that grabbed my attention. Lilly publishes a report on corporate responsibility which covers these, and many more things, in more detail.

Disney Partnership

Lilly Diabetes has been working with Disney Publishing to bring educational resources about life with type 1 diabetes to teens and youngsters. They have seven books available now, with a handful of new titles launching at CWD’s Friends for Life conference in July.

These books have traditionally been available through doctor’s offices and healthcare providers, which we complained about during last year’s meeting. We wanted them easier to get. What good is it to have a Disney character with type 1 diabetes (c’mon, you know that’s pretty incredible…) if the books are too hard to get?

I was pleasantly surprised. Lilly is working on making their library of type 1 diabetes books viewable online for free. I think it’s a great step in the right direction. They say this should happen late in 2013. They are also working to make the print books available to a more diverse audience, and are translating the books into 17 languages for 18 different countries outside of the United States. Impressive, no?

Olympic Athlete!

Scott Johnson and Kris
Didn’t quite turn out – but still pretty cool!

Three time Olympian and professional cross-country skier, Kris Freeman, dropped in for the afternoon!

We enjoyed a box lunch and downtime visiting with him, asking questions about everything from the Olympics to how his insulin needs change from day to day. It was amazing to me how this ultra-athlete struggles with many of the same things we all do. He’s a regular guy trying his best to manage his blood sugars, just like all of us.

Kris was super laid back and very down to earth. It was a real treat being able to visit with him for the day.


I was actually pretty impressed with what Lilly has done. Things take a really long time at a company like Lilly, and I feel that they have made incredible progress in the past year. I hope it’s a good indication of them picking up speed and momentum around positive change.

My next post about the trip will talk about the amazing experience of touring the insulin manufacturing facility. It was an absolutely mind-blowing experience.

*Disclosure: Lilly Diabetes paid for my travel, lodging, and food during my trip. I was also given a gift bag that contained snacks, mints, hand sanitizer, a book with some local tourist/history information, and a picture frame for group photos.

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate, and Senior Community Manager at Blue Circle Health. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent my employer’s position. Read more…

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