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.

“An Orange Peanut?! For Me?!”

Lots of news to spread today! Buckle up for some bullet points.

FocusOnTechnologyLogo400Are you near the Washington, D.C. area (Crystal City, VA, specifically)? Come to the CWD Focus on Technology regional conference and expo happening next weekend, February 1-3, 2013. Sebastien Sasseville is the keynote speaker, and this dude is a total badass. He jogged across the freaking Sahara desert, m’kay?  I’ll be doing a session with my favorite short d-blogger on diabetes devices in the real world. It also sounds like a handful of DOC locals will be getting together for dinner on Saturday night. I’d love for you to join us!

logoRonen Keinan asked for help recruiting early adopters to a new tool his team is working on called Medivizor. It’s a service that offers personalized information updates around serious or chronic medical conditions to people and their caregivers. They believe they have solved the ‘needle in the haystack’ challenge and are able to give you updates that are relevant, understandable, and actionable. If you’d like to help them out, head over to and sign up.

pic small cover uploadI recently finished “Islands and Insulin” by Erin Spineto. Erin lives with type 1 diabetes and was drawn to challenge herself by sailing a 22-foot sailboat down the Florida keys and writing a book about the journey, from conception to completion. It’s an enjoyable mix of love, learning, diabetes, and adventure. The book will hit the shelves soon, and if you’re looking for a fun book with plenty of diabetes mixed in, this might be a good one for you.

photoI’m loving the new look of the Insulin Nation website! I’ve always enjoyed their content and the new site design makes it easier to get to.  If you haven’t had a look, please go check it out. “Iron Andy” and his crew are doing great work there.

diatribe_logoAre you a subscriber to diaTribe? If not, you should be. We spoke to Adam Brown, co-managing editor,  on DSMA Live last night. diaTribe is a top-notch publication that provides incredible information that’s super easy to understand. And it’s free!

indexI recently connected with Stanley Rak, from Food Facts, a website that says it is the largest, most comprehensive internet source for nutrition facts. Anyone out there used this site yet? How does it compare to Calorie King (what seems like the gold standard for many)? At first glance, it looks pretty impressive, especially how it lists common allergens and calls out controversial ingredients. Thoughts?

white-and-black-iphones-heroDo you know about Glooko? It’s a cable for your iPhone that connects to a bunch of meters and downloads your readings. They’ve just released their Logbook Charts site which allows you to get a better look at your information. Along with that, they are introducing their brand new community blog which will focus on real people with diabetes, better ways to use Glooko, as well as recipes and wellness information (site is no longer online).

I have been totally hooked on the “Bad Lip Reading” videos.  ”An orange peanut?! For me?!”

CWD Friends For Life – Epic Sizer!

I walked into the Richard Rubin Keynote (opening session) with an overflowing breakfast plate and my shoulder bag full of diet sodapop.  After only a step or two into the room I was stopped in my tracks by the sheer size of this thing.  I had no idea.  No. Idea.

Picture of the opening breakfast banquet roomI could not even see the people on the other side of the room.  They were lost over the horizon.  There were THREE giant TV screens to broadcast the podium.  THREE SCREENS!

I was very full of emotion being surrounded by so many people all deeply entrenched in diabetes.  Everyone there was either a person with type 1 diabetes, a parent of a child with type 1 diabetes, family member of someone with type 1 diabetes, or a caregiver for someone with type 1 diabetes.  Type 1 diabetes, type 1 diabetes, type 1 diabetes.  Everywhere.  I have never experienced so much type 1 diabetes in one place.  I was overwhelmed by it all.  The love and support just swallowed me up, and the program hadn’t even started yet.

Picture of Scott & JayJay Hewitt, an Ironman Triathlete who lives with type 1 diabetes, delivered an incredible opening speech.   The Ironman Triathlons are a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, THEN a 26.2 mile run.  One right after the other.  Not the next week, not the next day, but all together in a single day.  It is an amazing accomplishment to train for something like that, much less compete on a professional level.  And to do so with type 1 diabetes?  I find that incredibly inspiring.  I really enjoyed Jay’s ability to tie in the struggles we face living with diabetes into the challenges of such a grueling endurance race.  I was very moved by his speech, and was thrilled to have the opportunity to shake his hand, thank him, and get a picture with him.  Thank you Jay!

I had a lot of trouble deciding which sessions to attend for the rest of the afternoon.  I wanted to go to ALL of them!  For the most part, I made good decisions about what to attend, but I also missed some great discussions.  There was just no way to attend six sessions all at the same time.  If I could have figured out a way to do it, I would have.

One of the things I enjoyed most was constantly bumping into, and visiting with, people from the DOC.

Collage of DOC peeps at CWD 2010

Picture of the Edelman's, Lee Ann, & Heidi

And to top the evening off, I even got to play some basketball with Gary Scheiner.

Action shot playing basketball at FFL 2010

Thanks to Kerri for this action shot!