In an effort to Stop Diabetes and the devastating effects of this disease in our community, Erin Smith Aebel, a diabetes advocacy leader in Tampa, and partner at the law firm of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, joined more than 200 diabetes advocates from across the country in Washington, D.C. for the American Diabetes Association's Call to Congress. Call to Congress, the Association's premier national advocacy effort, was held March 9 – March 11, 2011.
Attendees included children and adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, family members of individuals with diabetes, researchers and other health care professionals. All are committed to advocacy efforts at the local, state, and national levels. Ms. Aebel is a health care lawyer whose father has type 2 diabetes and whose 6 year-old daughter, Lillian, has had type 1 diabetes since age 4. Though she is a bright and active little girl involved in ballet and tae kwon do, Lillian endures a strict diet and several blood sugar tests and insulin injections every day. Ms. Aebel's goal is to support finding a cure for diabetes so no one has to suffer from this life-threatening disease.
On March 10th, Ms. Aebel and the other advocates met with Members of Congress and their staff, including healthcare liaisons for Senator Rubio, Senator Nelson and Representative Castor to urge them to support federal funding levels in Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 for diabetes research and prevention programs at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recognizes the magnitude of the nation's diabetes epidemic. All the members she met with indicated support or likely support for the funding to stop the disease. Senator Nelson's office even pointed out how health care issues affect other important issues. For example, the high levels of childhood obesity which is a factor for type 2 diabetes, could threaten national security and our ability as a nation to have eligible soldiers.
Of the nearly 26 million Americans living with diabetes, more than 1.4 million of them are residents of Florida. Advocates also urged their Members of Congress to join the Congressional Diabetes Caucuses, which act to educate Members about diabetes and to support legislation that improves diabetes, research, education and treatment. While in Washington, D.C., Ms. Aebel collaborated with other Call to Congress participants from around the country to plan diabetes advocacy efforts back home in their communities.
"Call to Congress brings Diabetes Advocates from across the country together in the movement to stop diabetes and provides them with the opportunity to tell our federal government how important it is to fight this deadly epidemic," said John Griffin, Jr., the Chair of the Board of the American Diabetes Association. "Unless our country changes its course, one in three children will develop diabetes in their lifetime. Congress must provide the funding and leadership necessary to invest in research and ultimately save lives."
Diabetes is a growing epidemic and is taking a devastating physical, emotional and financial toll on our country. The national price tag for diabetes is at an astounding $174 billion per year and that cost is estimated to almost triple in the next 25 years. Factoring in the additional costs of undiagnosed diabetes, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes brings the total diabetes-related cost to $218 billion.
For more information about Call to Congress, please visit http://www.diabetes.org/advocate/events/call-to-congress.html.
About The American Diabetes Association
The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to stop diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit http://www.diabetes.org/ Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.
About Erin Smith Aebel
Ms. Aebel is certified as a health law specialist by the Florida Bar. Her clients include physicians, physician group practices, diagnostic imaging centers, pharmacies, clinical laboratories and medical spas. She regularly advises clients on Stark and fraud and abuse, HIPAA and licensure issues arising from joint ventures, acquisitions and changes of ownership. She regularly prepares and negotiates physician employment agreements, physician recruitment agreements and medical director agreements. She is frequently involved in licensure and scope of practice issues for her clients, including weight loss clinics, medical spas and other aesthetic medicine ventures. Ms. Aebel received her J.D., cum laude, from Loyola University and her B.A., magna cum laude, from Loyola University.