Leading international diabetes technology expert Laurel Messer visited Perth to share her experiences with closed loop systems at the Children’s Diabetes Centre’s Community Forum last month. We spoke to Laurel during her visit:
Title? Registered Nurse, Certified Diabetes Educator and Senior Instructor at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. I am also a PhD candidate studying factors related to uptake of diabetes technology.
Where were you born? San Diego, California, a mile from the Pacific Ocean.
Where do you currently live? I live in Denver, Colorado, which is right up against the Rocky Mountains. Everyone thinks it must be cold and snowy all the time, but the secret is that we get 300 days of sunshine a year — it is warm and beautiful! It is also about 1 mile in altitude, so they call us the “Mile High City”.
Why type 1 diabetes? I fell into diabetes without knowing much about the daily experience. I have been in research a number of years and went back to nursing school to get away from the bench lab and to work with people. My first job out of nursing school was with the world-famous Dr Peter Chase, who really changed care for youth with type 1 diabetes around the world. I learned so much from him, and I think his passion and dedication rubbed off on me. I now consider it my life’s work, trying to make life a little less complicated, a little less stressful for children, adolescents, and young adults with type 1 diabetes.
How important is technology to diabetes? Technology is a double-edged sword. When used well, it can make life much better, much easier. When used poorly, it is nothing but bothersome. I think my goal is to help figure out the right match of technology to an individual and provide the right education and resources to make technology helpful, beneficial.