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.

Don’t Hear Enough About…

I’m following Bennet’s lead in spreading some news that we don’t hear enough about.  That news is about companies in the diabetes industry doing the right thing and directing a LOT of resources towards helping people with diabetes.

There were two pieces of news last month that I wanted to to share.  I’m late, but late is better than not at all.

  • November 12, 2012, Lifescan announced the donation of one million OneTouch brand test strips to the International Diabetes Federation’s Life for a Child program in honor of World Diabetes Day 2012.
  • On November 14, 2012, Laura Kolodjeski (Community Manager for Sanofi US Diabetes) posted a great interview with Siham Erragh (Sr. Marketing Manager, US Diabetes) about their support of diabetes camps.  The numbers were pretty impressive to me.  Check out the infographic they shared.

I know that there will always be more help needed than there is help available.  It’s a sad situation.  But we do need to tip our hat when our industry partners do something right.  This is me tipping my hat.  Thank you Lifescan and Sanofi US Diabetes for doing some good for our community!

I’m Proud of Bennet!

Last year, at my first Friends for Life (FFL) conference, I bumped into Gary Scheiner in the exhibit hall. He told me that they play basketball in the activity center in the evenings. I didn’t have any of my basketball gear (contact lenses, ankle braces, etc) but wanted to give it a try. It was so much fun.

This year I made sure to pack some basketball clothes.

George and Cherise covered my co-hosting duties for DSMA Live on Thursday night, and I got to enjoy some basketball. It was a blast!

We were able to round up a handful of grown-ups and a bunch of athletic younger folks, and we ran full-court ball for about an hour and a half.

Rick Philbin is a basketball stud, and the guy is in amazing shape. He pretty much does whatever he wants to on the court, and there’s not much any of us can do about it. Thank goodness he enjoys getting everyone involved in the game.

Andy Bell also played for a while, and he was a defensive powerhouse! He had at least five blocks. And not just fingertip-deflection blocks. I’m talking full on “smack-the-ball-across-the-gym” blocks. He didn’t bring basketball clothes, so he was hooping it up in blue jeans. I loved it!

Adam & Ben from Vlose Concerns, you guys are hoppers!

You know who made the biggest impression on me? Bennet. Yep, YDMV Bennet. I’m so proud of that guy. He is working hard on his health, and it was evident on the basketball court. Before we started he told me that he hadn’t touched a basketball in a lot of years. I can’t remember how many years, but let’s just say it was more years than my conscious memory goes back.

He worked so hard out there, and totally held his own on the court.

Way to go Bennet! Work on that jump-shot this year – I’m counting on you being on my team again!


I’m heading to Vegas for the week for the AADE Conference. I’m looking forward to learning a lot, seeing old friends, and making new ones.


theBetes:NOW is a really fun project that I bumped into at the CWD Friends For Life (FFL) conference.  It’s a project that a couple of the super creative Dunlap teenagers are putting together, and I’m so impressed with how it is turning out.  I’m proud of them, and proud to have had a chance to participate.

From their site: “We at theBetes:NOW aim to serve Type 1 families by offering them a multi-media platform to share their experiences with the larger Type 1 community. We are a project for Type 1 families, by Type 1 families.

They had a neat little station set up right in the hallway of the convention center, and as people would walk by they could record a little message, then it would be edited on the spot, and played on a display screen just minutes later.  It was really fun to do, and I was amazed by Kelley Dunlap editing the videos almost as fast as they were coming out of the camera.

Here’s a picture that I snapped of Bennet & Kerri looking very serious, Crystal Jackson in the background, and if you look at the TV Screen you can see Kelly Kunik, who recorded her scene just a short while earlier.

Kerri grabbed an “action shot” while I was recording my little blurb.  Below you can see the final product!

“Uncle Scott wants YOU!”