As we wrap up the year and start thinking about a break over the summer, it’s timely to both reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to the new year.
 
Diabetes Victoria has had a stellar year. Our most outstanding achievement was generating an operating surplus in FY18/19 of $3.9m, of which $2.7m will be directed towards diabetes-related research. Our members consistently tell us that this is one of the most important things they want us to do, so we’ve been delighted to deliver on this expectation.
 
The third edition of our Diabetes Expo series, held in late April, was the largest event organised in our history and… probably the most successful. Planning for Diabetes Expo 2021 is already well advanced with some of the key decisions already made, so that the more detailed planning can commence in February. Our timely and robust debrief after the April event, when we reviewed what worked well; what could have been improved; and… what we might not want to repeat, certainly helped in kickstarting this process. Further details will be released early in the new year and I hope you’ll share our excitement with the enhancements planned for our flagship event…
 
A personal highlight during the year was the decision by the Board of Directors to establish the Diabetes Victoria Trisha Dunning Research Scholarship.
 
Professor Trisha Dunning AM is a leading nurse, diabetes clinician, qualitative methods researcher and educator, with an international profile and reputation. Professor Dunning has published widely and is acknowledged as an expert on diabetes management and care guidelines – particularly for older people and people receiving palliative or end-of-life care. Professor Dunning has also been a significant contributor to many diabetes organisations, such as the International Diabetes Federation, Diabetes Australia, the Australian Diabetes Educators Association and, of course, Diabetes Victoria – who have decided to honour Professor Dunning’s lifetime work with this scholarship.
 
The scholarship, of $60K, will be awarded to a person with professional nursing qualification(s) and experience to support him/her to undertake a PhD focused on a diabetes-related topic at a Victorian university. Applicants will be either in year 1 of approved PhD studies, or eligible to enrol in approved PhD studies, at a Victorian university. Consistent with Professor Dunning’s own research interests, preference may also be given to those planning to use qualitative research methods (in full, or in part of their PhD research). Applicants will be eligible if they have an existing scholarship, though preference may be given to those without financial support.
 
Applications will open on 1 July each year and close on 31 August, with the recipient to be announced on World Diabetes Day: 14 November. Again, further details will be released in the new year…
 
The new year will be a challenging one for Diabetes Victoria. We very much hope to identify a new main office and to have sold 570 Elizabeth Street, where we have been happily based since 2003. We will do our best to support Diabetes Australia in securing a new four-year NDSS Agreement from 1 July, as well as finalising several new agreements specific to Diabetes Victoria. These new agreements include: a Collaboration Agreement with Deakin University to support the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes; key EBAs for our professional staff; a funding agreement for the Life! Program; and an agreement with Savers for our collection business. Phew!
 
In addition, we remain a very aspirational organisation committed to maintaining our ISO Quality certification; further developing our model of consumer engagement; enhancing our relationships with the other member organisations of Diabetes Australia; and using our technology platforms to progress initiatives led by our two newly created business units – Evaluation, Evidence & Quality and Shared Services.
 
Finally, I wish you all a joyous and safe festive season and all the best in 2020. Thank you for your ongoing interest in, and support of, our work. Please note that the next News from the CEO will appear on Friday 7 February – after we’ve all (hopefully) had a break…
 
With kind regards
 
Craig Bennett
Chief Executive Officer
 
We support, empower and campaign for all Victorians affected by, or at risk of, diabetes.