Executive Summary


A nexus of experts in Type1 Diabetes


“The Type 1 Diabetes Think Tank Network provides the expertise, guidance and integration to improve the quality of life and health outcomes for people with T1D.”


Improve communication between HCP's, PWD and other T1D Stakeholders

Elevate a the standard of care for PWT1

Empower PWT1 with Skills for better self-management  


How are we different?

We use a multi-stakeholder, multidirectional approach to identifying and resolving issues for T1D.

We are NOT here to admire issues; we are here to change behaviours for chronic disease management.


Here's how we do it:

By introducing creativity and the arts into a traditionally clinical discussion through the Insight Sessions


Background: Type One Diabetes Think Tank Network

The more than 300,000 Canadians and their families living with Type 1 diabetes often feel they are invisible in a healthcare world dominated by discussion, research and media attention paid to Type 2 diabetes. Think Tank is working to change this by improving communications between patients and healthcare professionals and increasing awareness of T1D as a life-threatening chronic disease.

In early 2013, a national group of leading healthcare professionals specializing in the care, treatment and research into Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) and vocal, concerned T1D patients sat down together. Their conversation was at times intense, at other times humorous as they shared their individual stories about living a life with T1D or working with those who do.

Their conclusion? More – a lot more – needs to be done to improve the lives and health of those with T1D. And improving lives means a very simple thing had to change in physician offices, diabetes treatment centres and other healthcare settings: better communication based on a mutual understanding of the patient experience. The Type 1 Diabetes Think Thank Network (Think Tank) was born.

What is the Type 1 Diabetes Think Tank Network?

The T1D Think Tank Network is a national community of practice, engaging members as active participants and contributors to the collective development of knowledge about T1D while reinforcing the value and expanding the impact of understanding and sharing the patient experience. The highly specialized nature of Think Tank includes endocrinologists, diabetes educators, family practitioners, dieticians, nurses, pharmacists, patient support associations, administrators and T1D patients who have been leaders in advocating for and with their peers.

The innovative “Think Tank Approach” developed through Think Tank Insight Sessions has opened the path to a new, level playing field for both patients and healthcare professionals. The Think Tank approach to collaboration and partnership between healthcare professionals and patients emphasizes communication, learning and respect. Patients can be assured healthcare professionals will listen and respond to their unique issues. Healthcare professionals are confident that patients have the self-assurance and knowledge to care for themselves.

Who is involved?

Think Tank has recruited many of Canada’s leading opinion leaders – patients and healthcare professionals – and has support from industry partners. Through Think Tank, healthcare professionals see the powerful ways that small changes in how they communicate in their clinical practice improves their ability to positively impact health outcomes. Think Tank patient and healthcare leaders are mentors and role models working together – locally and nationally – to educate and support their peers on the benefits of the “Thank Tank Approach”.

Why focus on Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes is a very different disease than Type 2. For instance, T1D patients are usually very skilled and knowledgeable about the disease and their own treatment requirements. Healthcare professionals can benefit from this experience by learning effective ways to communicate with these patients.

The cost of caring for T1D is significant over the patient’s lifetime. Emergency hospital visits, diagnostics, lengthy hospital stays, diabetes clinics, regular visits with specialists including endocrinologists, cardiologists, ophthalmologists and urologists are a significant burden for the patient, their family, employers and the healthcare system including insurers. The Think Tank Approach to improve communications and awareness can lead to savings to the healthcare system in terms of patient and healthcare system resources.

And beyond the health system costs are the direct and indirect costs to family, employers and insurers. T1D patients can even find themselves tangled in the legal system if they experience a diabetic emergency in a public place due to the lack of understanding about the disease.

What is Think Tank Hoping to Achieve?

Think Tank is the only national platform devoted to engaging T1D patients and healthcare professionals to change the way all stakeholders think about and take action to address this chronic disease. Think Tank is focused on delivering the following broad strategic goals:

1.Improve communications between patients and healthcare professionals (HCPs)

2.Elevate the healthcare provider standard of care delivered to T1D patients.

3. Empower patients with skills for better self-management of T1D.

How will Think Tank reach its goals?

Think Thank has established the innovative Insight Sessions that bring together patients and healthcare professionals to facilitate learning around better approaches to patient-HCP communication. Insight Sessions have been held in major centres across Canada. Learnings from the Insight Sessions are shared through the Think Tank website (www.t1thinktank.com), by peer-to-peer mentoring and information-sharing and through presentations at academic and patient conferences such as the December 2015 International Diabetes Federation World Conference. In the spring of 2016 the first annual Think Tank conference, Transitions 2016, will take place.