August 18, 2017

From November 1 to 4, 2017 more than 1,500 health-care professionals will gather in Edmonton, AB for the annual Diabetes Canada/CSEM Professional Conference and Annual General Meetings. This year is a special one, as the conference celebrates its 20th anniversary. From the very first event in London, ON in 1997 when a sold-out crowd took up every available hotel room in the city, Diabetes Canada knew it had something special on its hands.

Below, some of the long-time participants in the Conference share memories and impressions of what has become the biggest diabetes health-care event in Canada.

Hear what diabetes educators and people living with diabetes across Canada have to say:

Dr. Stewart Harris – Planning Committee, First Conference – London, ON

Why he attends:

I think it’s a really important venue to share cutting edge science and to put a spin on it as it relates to Canada. I’ve been very involved in the Clinical Practice Guidelines through the years and presenting the evidence that influences guidelines is an important element of the meeting. It’s also a great opportunity for Canadian allied health-care professionals who can’t generally attend international conferences to get access to the same high-caliber information and presentations that they would hear at any international conference.

Favourite memory:

Seeing people from across the country you might only see once a year. It’s an opportunity to interact with your colleagues and share in a very Canadian manner new scientific evidence and breakthroughs.

Gail MacNeil, RN, CDE – 2016/2017 Professional Conference Co-Chair – Toronto, ON

Why she attends:

I always return from our Canadian conference inspired and refreshed. It is great to see how the educators are meeting the needs of our very diverse Canadian population. The tools they are developing and sharing, the ideas the educators have for research and their innovation in their teaching programs is awe-inspiring. Networking with other educators, researchers and clinicians adds a depth to our understanding of what we are doing, why we are doing this and gives us a very strong sense of purpose to continue to pursue excellence in care for our patients.  

Margaret Little – RN, CDE – Kingston, ON

Why she attends:

The reason I started attending the conference was to meet and network with other educators from across the country. I worked very much in isolation then (as did many others) and we were looking for support, ideas and educational tools, as well as hearing about current research and what was new in treatment and management. It was extremely important to me then to know there was someone l could contact if I had a question or wanted to discuss an idea with and I liked being able to put a face to the name. This is still important to me.

Favourite memory:

Hearing the results of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) and knowing that we'd implement changes in our practices as a result.  Also, receiving the Charles H. Best award, which was totally unexpected and very humbling.

Dr. Bernard Zinman – Toronto, ON

Why he attends:

The Diabetes Canada Professional Conference is a unique opportunity for a wide variety of Canadian health-care professionals to share expertise in all aspects of diabetes education, health-care delivery and research. The professional meeting is a testament to the very high standard with which the international community regards Canadian diabetes initiatives. The conference provides an important annual opportunity to share advances in diabetes research with the ultimate goal of improving the outlook for people with diabetes

Favourite memory:

The year I was awarded the Diabetes Canada Lifetime Achievement Award was particularly exciting. Recognition from one’s peers is very humbling and gratifying.

Dr. Vincent Woo – Winnipeg, MB

Why he attends:

I have been involved with Diabetes Canada for over 20 years and have attended the conference every year but one.

At the conference, I have been involved at many levels from planning, speaking, giving and receiving awards and as a member of the board, chair of the Clinical and Scientific Section, and chair of the Clinical Practice Guidelines. I still very much enjoy the meeting and see that it has become world renowned for its scientific program. It is a great place to meet old friends and make new friends. 

Favourite memory:

The combined vascular meeting in Montreal was a highlight and being able to honour my colleagues who have won Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Lori Berard, RN, CDE – Winnipeg, MB

Why she attends:

Conference is important to attend to learn from others, to share and to appreciate the national differences for people living with diabetes.  We are stronger together. Most importantly, attending conference gives you motivation to continue, to try something different and to know who to ask when you need help.

Favourite memory:

The first combined conference In London Ontario—the way it always should have been.  Most specifically, sitting in the audience while the 1998 Clinical Practice Guidelines were being vetted, I remember it like yesterday.

Louise K. LeFebvre, CDE – Prince George, BC

Why she attends:

Attending Conference is vital for health-care professionals. It is an opportunity to acquire best clinical practice outcome based learning and face-to-face networking with multidisciplinary diabetes educators to share ideas and build contacts. Knowledge navigates patient education and promotes self-management. I am inspired by the quote, “Education is not the learning of facts but the training of the mind,” by Albert Einstein.

Favourite Memory:

The networking and the awards presentation honoring diabetes educators remains inspiring. The gala events and the 40th anniversary of Diabetes Educators in 2015 are favourite memories. 

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Krista Lamb
Communications Manager
Diabetes Canada
Phone: 416-408-7088
krista.lamb@diabetes.ca