We’ve had some big things on our office bucket list for years and developing online education has always been at the top of the list. But with a full conference schedule and a small staff traveling to cities around the country every year, finding the time and resources to develop online programming was a challenge.
When life as we knew it came to a screeching halt in March, suddenly our dreamy “someday maybe this can happen” bucket list became a frantic “Oh crap! We need to pull this thing together!” list. We cancelled all of our in-person events for 2020 and got to work figuring out how to operate Zoom (which really should be called “A Video Meeting Platform That’s More Confusing Than You Think” although that would be hard to fit on a logo).
August 1st was our first full-day virtual conference. We weren’t sure what to expect, but over 2000 people registered from 48 states and 38 countries, including Uganda, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Singapore, Jamaica, Israel, Austria and Morocco. The chat boxes were going a mile-a-minute and the Q&A’s were jam packed as our diabetes experts answered hundreds of questions and comments on the fly. It was great to learn that our virtual events can have almost every element of an in-person conference, including:
- Specialized lectures with smaller groups
- Individual Q&A’s with live diabetes experts
- Exhibit booths with multi-staffed device, tech, nutrition and pharmaceutical companies
- Cooking demos
- Exercise classes
- The opportunity to connect with other people living with diabetes around the world and share struggles and successes
Plus you don’t have to arrive early for a good parking spot AND there’s never a line for the bathroom. But one of the most important perks of our online patient conferences is that they are all COMPLETELY FREE for anyone living with diabetes (and their loved ones) thanks to the generous support from our sponsors and donors.
Although nothing can replace the feeling of being in the same room with 500 people who understand what it’s like to have to do math every time you eat, we’re discovering that virtual events are the next best thing to being together. Our “conference rooms” are just a little bigger this way, and you may find yourself talking about CGMs or the best low-carb pasta with someone from Latvia, the Bahamas, Kazakhstan or Finland.
TCOYD’s vision has always been for all people with diabetes and their loved ones to have full access to proper education and therapy in order to allow for the prevention, early detection, and aggressive management of diabetes and the complications of diabetes, and now we’re one step closer to realizing this vision. We plan to keep (and expand) our online programs long after the grocery shelves are fully stocked with TP and we can hug each other again. We hope you’ll spread the word about our online events to anyone you know living with diabetes so they can take advantage of learning in their living room from some of the best diabetes specialists around.
We can’t wait for the day when we can host in-person events again, but in the meantime we hope you can join us for one (or all) of our upcoming conferences. Here’s what’s coming up:
11/7/20 Full TCOYD Conference
12/12/20 Full TCOYD Conference
And if you’re a medical professional, check out our 2020 CME schedule here.
Now that one of our bucket list items is complete we’re on to next one, which might have to be planning a conference in Jamaica, the Bahamas or Morocco. We can dream, right?