Jun 21 2016 Posted: 09:13 IST

A major three-day international symposium focusing on improving health outcomes for young adults with type 1 diabetes will take place at NUI Galway from 22-24 June.

Type 1 diabetes affects 14,000-16,000 people in Ireland and requires intensive self-management, including monitoring blood glucose, administering insulin, carbohydrate counting, and regulating exercise, to maintain good diabetes control. This daily self-management routine is challenging for most, but is especially difficult for young adults whose lives are often characterised by transition, independence and unpredictability. The Irish Young Adult Type 1 Diabetes Study team, based in NUI Galway, have been working since 2011 to better understand the needs and perspectives of young adults with type 1 diabetes and this three-day event is the culmination of that work.

On the first day, Dr Molly Byrne, Health Behaviour Change Research Group, NUI Galway, will bring together expert researchers and clinicians to agree a standardised set of outcomes for use in future research with young adults with type 1 diabetes.

The highpoint of this three-day event will be the a major international expert conference ‘Strength In Numbers: Teaming up to improve the health of young adult with type 1 diabetes’ on Thursday, 23 June. This innovative, multi-disciplinary conference is not an information event for people with diabetes but will be of interest to young adults who would like to learn more about different approaches to supporting type 1 diabetes self-management and the research going on in this area. The free conference, which is funded by the Health Research Board through a Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Scheme, may also be of interest to healthcare professionals, researchers and policy makers.

Headed by Professor Seán Dinneen, Consultant Physician at Galway University Hospitals and Head of NUI Galway’s School of Medicine, the conference will see national and international experts presenting to a multi-disciplinary audience on service provision and technology for supporting self-management in young adults with type 1 diabetes.

The final day will involve two parallel sessions: an ‘Expert Panel’ and a ‘Hackathon’. The Expert Panel will be focused, and people will be specifically chosen to attend based on their skills and experience. This panel meeting will involve feedback sessions and workshops to reach a consensus on the final protocol for an intervention to improve health outcomes for young adults with type 1 diabetes in Ireland. The Hackathon will bring together software developers, health-focused start-up businesses, people with type 1 diabetes and healthcare professionals to focus on possible technology solutions which could be applied in a future young adult intervention.

Professor Seán Dinneen said: “We at NUI Galway are very excited at the prospect of bringing together a group of over 100 people interested in young adult diabetes care including healthcare professionals, researchers, policy makers and especially young adults living with type 1 diabetes. With your help we hope to gain real insight into new ways of delivering care to this group of patients.”

For further information contact Dr Lisa Hynes in NUI Galway’s School of Psychology on 091 494458.

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