June 26, 2009

Four siblings named youth diabetes ambassadors

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Oliver Gould, 5, plays with with Deloris Lee, R.N., B.S.N., and Bill Russell, M.D., as he gets blood samples drawn. (photo by Susan Urmy)

Four siblings named youth diabetes ambassadors

A family from the Vanderbilt Eskind Pediatric Clinic addressed a Senate committee in the nation’s Capitol this week in hopes of helping to preserve research funding for type 1 diabetes.

Four children in the Gould family who are seen by Bill Russell, M.D., director of the clinic and director of Pediatric Endocrinology at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, were selected as the Tennessee state youth ambassadors for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

Ellen and Dave Gould’s children: Patrick, 17; Sam 12; Sarah, 10; and Oliver, 5, stood with their mother as she spoke before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. All four of the children have type 1 diabetes and are involved in research at Vanderbilt.

“I was surprised to learn that the Committee on Homeland Security was where the funding comes from, but I understand they have been very supportive of research to find best treatments and possible preventions for type 1 diabetes over the years,” said Gould.

Actress Mary Tyler Moore led the testimony for JDRF families on Wednesday. Gould said last year, federal funding for diabetes research was not increased as it had been in the past. The fear is that the current economic crisis might generate further reductions.

The Vanderbilt Eskind Diabetes Clinic is a site for an international diabetes study called TrialNet to discover the causes of and new treatments and even prevention for diabetes.

The entire Gould family is enrolled in the study.

“I can’t think of anyone better to address the senators than the Goulds,” said Russell. “They have given a very public face to their battle with diabetes. Congressional mandates for increased funding for diabetes research have made a tremendous difference; they have been a major impetus to the creation of Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet and other landmark research studies that will make a difference in the lives of families with diabetes.”

The Vanderbilt Eskind Pediatric Diabetes Clinic has recently received recognition for their work in juvenile diabetes. On June 11, at a Tennessee JDRF meeting, Russell received the “Focus on the Cure Award” presented to caregivers and clinics in the state.

The diabetes self-management education program manager, Cindy Lybarger, A.P.R.N., recently was commended in an audit by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) as directing a program that is a “model to others.”