Annual Reports

Message from the CEO & President

2020/21 marked the first year of our three-year strategic plan and we commenced the year with ambitious plans.

With a plan to lead the way in diabetes prevention, early detection, and management of diabetes we focused on the development of an external campaign titled Face the Facts to bring awareness to diabetes being one of the most serious chronic conditions in Australia today, with 1 in 6 being at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Working with an Adelaide based marketing and advertising agency Bigwig, a public facing type 2 diabetes awareness and early detection campaign was developed.

One of the key aspects of the campaign was to encourage people to assess their risk undertaking the AUSDRISK test, a self-assessment questionnaire that can indicate a person’s risk for developing type 2 diabetes in the next five years.

Driven by South Australia having one of the highest rates of diabetes (6.4%) in the country and undiagnosed type 2 diabetes affecting 30% of South Australians, we were motivated to get the message into the community to:

  • Raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of diabetes, risk factors and benefits of early detection and early intervention
  • Advocate for a multi-staged screening protocol to identify people at high risk or with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes
  • Provide and refer high risk people to Diabetes SA services for lifestyle interventions to manage risk.

Parallel to this we ran face to face, free, type 2 diabetes screening events in ten regional locations extending the reach of the Face the Facts campaign and supported by funding through Country South Australia Primary Health Network and Wellbeing SA. The success of the campaign and screening program has clearly shown us that there is more work to be done in country locations as well other at-risk groups. Our aim will be to secure external funding to support an ongoing detection program within the South Australian community.

With evidence suggesting that through lifestyle changes this can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 58%, the Association has worked tirelessly to develop a prevention program.

Following extensive reviews of international, national, and state programs we have developed a prevention program that will go to trial in late 2021. This year long, clinically proven, community based, type 2 diabetes prevention program will recruit 600 South Australians who are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes or who have prediabetes to determine the feasibility, acceptance, effectiveness, and cost benefits of a group-based lifestyle change program called AUS2PREVENT. Alongside of this exciting work we have been working to establish a partnership with an international provider of evidence-based, digital health technologies that have been clinically proven to improve population health. We hope to bring you further updates in the coming year.

With greater than 113,000 people diagnosed with diabetes in South Australia our focus on the management of diabetes has seen the Association focus on strengthening awareness of diabetes self-management services and programs and codesigning programs and services with people living with diabetes to ensure we meet their needs.

An integral role in the success of this is our relationship with health professionals ensuring we work closely to build capacity in the workforce.

Representing the needs of people at risk or living with diabetes has seen the Association contribute to several forums, workshops and projects and has provided Diabetes SA with opportunities to submit applications for external funding some of which we have been successful in receiving. Our vision to fund research continued with the first reports being received from the three successful applicants in the 2020 Diabetes SA Research Grants Program and the Board’s commitment to the third round of grant funding in late 2021. Furthermore, the establishment of a Research Advisory Committee will advance the research agenda of Diabetes SA by ensuring that research has a real impact on people living with or at risk of diabetes and more broadly the health and wellbeing of the South Australian community.

During the financial year the Board welcomed Lynn Bonython and Christine Bell and we said goodbye to Roslyn Hewlett who had been on the Board since 2016 providing valuable insight and expertise in the health sector. We undertook a second Board recruitment and filled two Board positions taking the number of Board positions to nine and created an opportunity for a young person living with diabetes to join the Board in the role of Board Mentee.

A focus on governance and risk including cyber risk has remained high on the Board’s agenda along with sustainability of the organisation. Board discussion has centred on the need to explore location and space requirements for the conduct of the Association’s business and future business opportunities and has resulted in the Building and Development committee being charged with the responsibility of undertaking a feasibility study to develop a clear view on the needs of the Association.

As I reflect over the year, I can see the vision created for the Association back in 2017 is now coming to fruition. All the hard work and effort by the Board, Sub-Committees, Management and Staff have paved the way for our future success.

Thank you to our Members, donors, supporters, partners, and collaborators as without you we would not be able to achieve what we have achieved so far.

Angelique Pasalidis, CEO

Peter Crouch, President