Partnering with the NBA and the American Diabetes Association to Raise Awareness about Diabetes: 4 Questions with Gipper Monson
With the growing number of people with diabetes in the U.S., you know as well as I do, it’s more important than ever to raise awareness about this silent disease. Sanofi-aventis U.S. recently partnered with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the American Diabetes Association (the Association) to tackle this initiative head on. Since this is such a big initiative, I asked Gipper Monson, my counterpart in Patient Solutions, who is heading up this program for sanofi-aventis U.S. to share the details of the partnership and campaign.
Q: Hey Gipper, tell us a little bit about sanofi-aventis U.S.’ partnership with the NBA and the American Diabetes Association.
A: Hi Laura, thanks for taking a few minutes to chat. I’m excited about this opportunity and am glad to share the details. The Dribble to Stop Diabetes awareness campaign has been a long time in the making and extends beyond the NBA, the Association, and sanofi-aventis U.S. It also includes NBA Fit, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), and the NBA Development League. All of these organizations are going to be involved, so you can imagine that we have a huge opportunity to raise awareness and educate Americans about diabetes.
The campaign is a three year initiative with a primary focus on raising awareness. Year one (2011) is focusing on risk assessment, so we are encouraging people to assess their risk for Type 2 diabetes using the Association’s Diabetes Risk Test. If they are at risk, the call to action is to visit their health care professional and get tested. In the short term, we’re doing everything we can to support the Association’s goal of reaching one million people between March 22, 2011 and April 22, 2011.
For the longer term, we are engaging a group of campaign ambassadors to help us get the word out. We recently released a public service announcement (PSA) with our campaign ambassadors Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic, Alana Beard of the Washington Mystics and NBA Legends Walt Frazier and Chris Dudley. We are really proud of the fact that the video saw more than 40,000 hits within the first 24 hours and the social media buzz was fantastic, so we feel we’re off to a great start.
If you didn’t have a chance to check out the PSA, you can click here to view it on the Dribble To Stop Diabetes home page.
Q: You mentioned this is a three year partnership. Do you have any future events planned already?
A: Yes, we do. We’ve planned several events across the country throughout 2011. The calendar will be posted soon on DribbletoStopDiabetes.com, but events will include:
- Awareness events during NBA and WNBA games
- The Association’s Tour de Cure cycling races
- NBA Nation events throughout the summer
- The Association’s Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes events
- The Association’s EXPO events
We’ll be updating the calendar frequently, so I want to encourage everyone to visit often to learn about upcoming events in your area.
Q: How will these events benefit the diabetes community?
A: These events are really about connecting with the community and listening to what the attendees tell us they need. As you have indicated in some of your previous posts, sanofi-aventis U.S. is committed to listening to the needs of those living with diabetes so we can better identify gaps in products and services. These events let us take that commitment one step further and determine whether there are specific gaps that are unique to a particular geographic location. We can’t develop solutions and assume every one will meet the needs of each individual community or region.
Q: Has sanofi-aventis U.S. received feedback from the diabetes community on these programs?
A: The feedback has been overwhelming! We saw great support through various social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, and comments on the PSA on YouTube.
We received a great letter from a mother down in Kentucky indicating how this is a great campaign helping raise awareness, especially helping student athletes who have diabetes, and showing that they can not only participate, but can excel.
This is a great campaign with strong partners. It’s exciting and we’re really pumped about the opportunity to get going.
Laura: A special thanks to Gipper for taking the time and sharing his insights on the Dribble to Stop Diabetes awareness campaign. We hope you are able to attend some of the upcoming events. We’ll be sure to let you know when the calendar is posted and keep you updated on the events as they happen throughout the year.
All the best,