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Shannon Rush

Diabetes Business Unit Leader, Lilly UK, Ireland and Northern Europe

Whilst there have been incredible advances in diabetes treatment, care and management over the past 100 years, these have not been felt equally across society.

This is especially the case for Black African, Black Caribbean and South Asian ethnic groups who are over-represented in the population living with diabetes.1 They tend to develop type 2 diabetes at a younger age and are at greater risk of developing associated complications.1,2

At Lilly, we are acutely aware of this and are determined to play our part in bringing about change. For me, the commitment is personal. I have family members living with diabetes, and my role as a caregiver makes me determined to do what I can to help make life better for those living with diabetes.

Addressing health inequalities

I know that to address these health inequalities for ethnic minority groups, we need to work together across the diabetes community to bring about tangible change. I’m proud to have recently brought together a steering group of healthcare professionals, community group representatives and people living with diabetes to discuss the challenges and recommend actions.

For me, the commitment is personal. I have family members living with diabetes, and my role as a caregiver makes me determined to do what I can to help make life better for those living with diabetes.

We realised that even the way we talk about diabetes prevention and management needs to change to better resonate with people from ethnic minorities, and that training on cultural competence should be integral in the development of healthcare professionals. Across the health system, more robust ethnicity data is needed to ensure the NHS has a fuller picture of the inequalities that exist in diabetes care. NHS recruitment and development also need to adapt to ensure greater diversity among NHS decision-makers, to better reflect the populations they serve.

Activating change in diabetes care

In collaboration with those who attended the discussion, Lilly is producing a ‘Charter for Change’ which we will use to engage health and political stakeholders to highlight the urgent need for change to support Black African, Black Caribbean and South Asian people living with diabetes.


This article has been paid for and authored by Eli Lilly and Company. PP-LD-GB-1389 October 2021.

[1] Diabetes UK. Diabetes Statistics. Available at: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/professionals/position-statements-reports/statistics. Accessed November 2021.
[2] Lanting LC et al. Ethnic Differences in Mortality, End-Stage Complications, and Quality of Care Among Diabetic Patients. Diabetes Care 2005 Sept; 28(9): 2280-2288.

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