The U.S. Food and Drug Administration clears a new artificial pancreas system

On May 23, 2023 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the iLet® Insulin-Only Bionic Pancreas System for people 6 years of age and older with type 1 diabetes (T1D). It is an artificial pancreas system designed to autonomously determine and deliver insulin doses to control blood glucose levels.

What is an ‘artificial pancreas’?

Automated insulin delivery systems or ‘artificial pancreases’ are automated systems designed to mimic a fully functioning pancreas by automatically adjusting insulin delivery in response to changes in blood glucose levels.

How does the iLet® Insulin-Only Bionic Pancreas System work?

This new device technology includes an algorithm and integrated infusion pump that communicate directly with a compatible FDA-cleared integrated continuous glucose monitor (iCGM), enabling it to be an artificial pancreas, or automated insulin dosing (AID) system.

The iLet system is designed to have users enter only their weight for the iLet to initialize therapy. Immediately thereafter, the iLet begins working to automatically control blood glucose levels, without requiring the user to count carbohydrates, set insulin delivery rates, or deliver additional insulin for meals or corrections. (Users do have to say whether the amount of carbs in a meal is small, medium, or large, but the algorithm learns over time to respond to individual insulin needs.)

The submission was based on a multi-center randomized insulin-only iLet Bionic Pancreas pivotal trial, which tested the insulin-only configuration in 440 adults and children 6 years and older with T1D. The trial met all key endpoints, demonstrating improved outcomes over standard of care for people living with T1D:

  • Average HbA1c fell from 7.9% to 7.3% at 13 weeks
  • An average of 2.6 hours more time-in-range (70-180 mg/dL) per day, improving from 51% to 65% at 13 weeks
  • No increased risk of hypoglycemia

What artificial pancreas technologies are currently available in Canada?

There following artificial pancreas systems are available in Canada:  Tandem Control-IQ™ (2019), Medtronic 770G (2020), Medtronic 780G (2023).

In January 2023 the FDA also authorized the Tidepool Loop automated insulin dosing app for the management of T1D. The Loop is, essentially, an algorithm that can, eventually, be used to work with commercially available insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors (CGMs). The development of this algorithm was supported by grants from JDRF International in partnership with Helmsley Charitable Trust. Tidepool has not yet announced its initial launch device partners and has not yet been approved for use in Canada. We will continue to monitor this advancement and provide updates when available.

JDRF Impact

JDRF in the United States started the Artificial Pancreas Project over 15 years ago as part of its commitment to improving lives for people with T1D while research works towards cures. To date, JDRF has funded more than $140 million in artificial pancreas research.

Through these grants, JDRF International supported the development of the algorithm and preclinical and early clinical research—in partnership with the Helmsley Charitable Trust—through grants to:

What’s next?

While this new artificial pancreas system is not currently approved or available in Canada, it being cleared in the US offers hope that it may be approved for Canadians with T1D in the near future.

JDRF will continue to monitor and provide updates as they become available. It is hoped that this might become a new tool to help manage and improve daily T1D management, while research works towards cures.

JDRF 2023 Innovation Grants

JDRF provides seed funding for highly innovative research with significant potential to accelerate the most promising type 1 diabetes (T1D) research in both cures and approaches to improve disease management. JDRF Innovation Grants address key challenges in T1D research and have the potential to generate ground-breaking discoveries.

JDRF is thrilled to announce that two Canadian researchers out of the University of British Columbia (UBC) have recently been awarded one-year Innovation Grants for their T1D studies in stem cell derived beta cells. 

A potential cure for T1D is to transplant islet cells (the cells responsible for producing insulin) from recently deceased donors. However, there aren’t enough donors to meet the demand for all people with T1D who could potentially benefit from this treatment. However – there is a potentially limitless supply of insulin secreting cells for transplantation if stem cells could be turned or ‘directed’ into beta cells that secrete insulin in response to glucose. A challenge to this approach is that, thus far, beta cells derived from stem cells do not produce as much insulin as naturally occurring, healthy beta cells.  Therefore, more research is needed to understand how we can derive stem cell-derived beta cells that match or even exceed the properties of naturally occurring beta cells.

The two new innovation grants will attempt to quantify (Dr. Hongshen Ma) and optimize (Dr. Dan Luciani) the insulin-producing capability of stem cell-derived beta cells, to get us closer to a product that can cure T1D.

While Dr. Ma and his team focus on identifying the properties of high achieving stem cell-derived beta cells, Dr. Luciani and his team are examining the role of the mitochondria in the insulin producing capacity of stem cell-derived beta cells.

Dr. Hongshen Ma (University of British Columbia)

Dr. Ma is working to discover why there is limited insulin-secretion capability of stem cell-derived beta cells, by examining the cells at an individual level. 

Recent research has indicated that not all beta cells within an islet are equal. Rather, different beta cells within an islet have different roles, and may produce different amounts of insulin.  One potential explanation for the limited insulin-secretion capability for stem cell-derived beta cells is that there are under and over-producers. It’s been theorized that when studied as a group, all the transplanted stem cells appear to produce little insulin relative to naturally occurring, healthy beta cells, but if looked at individually a subset of these cells are in fact producing much more insulin than the rest. Studying these differences is challenging, but cutting-edge approaches that allow single cell identification can reveal new insights about how islets function — and therefore how we can recreate them for cure therapies. 

To address this challenge, Dr. Ma and his team are developing a new technology to measure the insulin secretion capability of stem cell-derived beta cells at the single cell level. This technology will enable the discovery of which genes and proteins are responsible for the ‘higher insulin achieving’ subtype of stem cells. By further comparing these to cells extracted from donor islets, the researchers will also be able to assess how similar the stem cell-derived beta cells are to those found in a person without T1D. Together, this work will push the boundaries of the current understanding of how islets function so that scientists can develop more effective stem cell-derived therapies for T1D that may one day be available to everyone in need.

Dr. Dan Luciani (University of British Columbia)

Dr. Luciani’s project is rooted in the theory that the development of mature, fully functional, beta cells involves two-way communication between metabolism in mitochondria (essentially the powerhouse of a cell) and the appropriate regulation of specific genes. It is hypothesized that without the proper two-way communication, not all stem cell-derived beta cells mature in a way that allows them to produce insulin in response to glucose. 

Dr. Luciani’s team believes that this maturation process does not get fully activated when beta cells are created from stem cells in the lab, but that their mitochondria can be ‘jump-started’ to trigger a sequence of events that result in formation of beta cells capable of secreting insulin at greater levels, perhaps close to naturally occurring, healthy beta cells. 

To address this challenge, Dr. Luciani and his team will make use of two innovative approaches – first, they will extract fully-functional mitochondria and transplant them into the immature stem cell-derived beta cells. They will also experimentally control the processes by which mitochondria normally fuse with each other or split into smaller units to influence the resulting beta cells. The team will further use specific metabolic molecules, novel drugs, and genetic manipulations to alter the structure and function of the existing mitochondria in immature stem cell-derived beta cells. This work may provide an untapped opportunity to improve the function of beta cells derived from stem cells for transplantation.

Meet our new Board Chair – Helena Gottschling

In late April 2023, Helena Gottschling was elected Board Chair for JDRF Canada.

Helena Gottschling is a purpose-driven leader who enjoyed a 37-year career with RBC before retiring in 2022. As Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) from 2017-2022, Helena was a member of Group Executive who set the overall strategic direction of RBC, Canada’s biggest bank and one of the largest in the world based on market capitalization. Helena was named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women in 2021 by the Women’s Executive Network in the C-Suite Executives award category. 

Her distinguished career encompassed senior roles in Retail Banking, Human Resources and National Office, and she has expertise in talent strategy, performance enablement, leadership development, cultural change and enterprise transformation. 

Helena built her reputation as a trusted advisor, a change champion, and a devoted employee advocate by unlocking the potential of employees and strengthening RBC’s position as a top employer of choice on a global scale. She has been responsible for many transformational initiatives impacting 86,000+ employees, including the future of work strategy, COVID-19 response, diversity & inclusion strategy, and reimagining the HR function.

She is also a board member of Plan International Canada.

Helena is married with one son and lives in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. Her son lives with type 1 diabetes (T1D).

Helena recently sat down with JDRF Canada to talk about what brought her to the organization and what she hopes to achieve as Board Chair.

JDRF – Tell us a bit about your personal story about your son’s diagnosis.

We moved to Calgary from Vancouver in late spring 2002.  At the time, Matt was 9 years old, and we were all adjusting to our new life in Alberta. We were enjoying our first winter skiing most weekends in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. 

In February of that year, we noticed Matt was experiencing unusual symptoms and behaving in ways that weren’t like him. That’s when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Nobody in our extended family had T1D so we had a lot to learn along the way.

Matt received excellent care at the Children’s Hospital in Calgary and again in Toronto when we moved there in 2004. Our son never lets diabetes get in the way of his life! He skied, played rep soccer, then rugby at school and university.

And when he was able to access an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM) it helped him better manage his diabetes and of course gave him more flexibility and independence. Which is why JDRF advocates and supports patient choice and universal access to these lifesaving devices.

JDRF – What progress have you seen during your time as a board member?

When Matt was first diagnosed 20 years ago, I got involved with JDRF through the ‘Ride for a Cure’. It was in Calgary, and I still remember the first year. I think there were two stationary bikes going! It’s incredible how much the event has grown since then and how things have changed!

At that time, we managed his T1D through injections with fast acting and long-acting insulin – testing his blood glucose levels multiple times a day, recording it manually in his workbook and calculating the amount of insulin he would need based on his food intake and exercise.

Since then – and just within the last twenty years – the progress made to help people with T1D manage their diabetes more effectively has been amazing. First with the pump – which helped him stay in range while offering more ‘just in time’ mgmt.

Then came the CGM – as a parent, the CGM gave me some peace of mind.  Especially when our son left home to go to university and then live on his own. Knowing that an ‘alarm’ would alert him when he was too low or high (blood glucose levels) so that he could make adjustments (either with more insulin or eating something with sugar), helped me sleep at night.

And the progress made towards finding a cure is so encouraging – research projects from stem cell research to islet transplantations in countries around the world gives me so much hope as a parent with a son with T1D, and as someone involved with JDRF who is helping us get there.

JDRF – what do you hope to see/achieve as Board Chair?

My ultimate hope of course is that a cure is found for T1D – a world without type 1 diabetes! Until that time, I want to help ensure that JDRF Canada continues to fund research projects towards this goal and continue our advocacy work for those living with T1D through Access for All – ensuring equitable access to insulin, diabetes devices, the Disability Tax Credit and government funding for more research.

Our immediate goal is to complete our $100M Campaign to Accelerate fundraising campaign in celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the discovery of insulin – to date, we’ve raised over $70 million of our goal of $100 million. The support we’ve received has been absolutely inspiring. 

We need to continue to communicate the impact we’ve made to our donors and supporters – dollars to research and most importantly, the outcomes of the research projects we fund. We will also continue to improve our funds to mission, making sure that the funds we raise go to the most promising research both into cures, which accounts for approximately 70% of funding disbursement, and into improving lives for people with T1D today, including our increased focus on mental health.

We also must continue to collaborate with partners along the way – the JDRF affiliates but particularly JDRFI in the United States, all levels of government, academia and other charitable orgs like Diabetes Canada and Brain Canada who support a shared mission and vision.

We need to continue to evolve our culture at JDRF so that employees, volunteers and supporters experience and feel the impact we’re making, because they all contribute through their work each and every day.

And as Chair of the Board, to work with the Senior Leadership team and Board Directors to ensure we deliver on our strategy, our mission, and our promise as an organization to our donors, supporters, staff and all Canadians affected by T1D, as we work towards a world free from type 1 diabetes. 

JDRF-CIHR Mental Health Grants

Mental health and psychosocial issues remain an under-researched yet frequent aspect of living with type 1 diabetes (T1D). As part of the JDRF-CIHR Partnership to Defeat Diabetes, JDRF is pleased to support four new Canadian grants focused on improving mental health and wellness in people with T1D. These grants are each worth $1 million over 4 years.

Having diabetes is associated with an increased risk of mental health conditions including anxiety, depression and eating disorders, as well as “diabetes distress”, which is a clinical condition that refers to the negative emotions that come with the burden of diabetes self-management. 

There is some evidence that behavioral health interventions can address mental health issues such as clinical depression and diabetes distress, as well as improve quality of life and diabetes self-management in people with T1D. However, more evidence is needed, including how to best implement these interventions into practice. The four grants are focused on the development, validation and clinical implementation of mental health interventions that will ideally offer long-lasting and scalable solutions for Canadians with T1D.


Aiming for something sweeter: Supporting youth with type 1 diabetes during transition from pediatric to adult diabetes care

Dr. Sonia Butalia (University of Calgary)

Dr. Butalia and her team are researching the transition from pediatric to adult diabetes care in people with T1D. This transition leaves teenagers struggling to navigate the adult health care system while also juggling increased pressures and competing priorities, such as finishing high school, navigating future plans and potentially leaving the family home, increased responsibility for their diabetes management, managing social pressures and mental health issues, to name a few.  This is a crucial timepoint as inadequate transition has been found to impact psychosocial issues as well as leading to increased HbA1c values and risk of hospitalization. 

Dr. Butalia and her team have previously created a transition intervention that supports teens through texting, emails, phone calls, and social media groups via non-medical transition coordinators. A pilot study of this intervention was very successful, with clinic attendance increasing 4-fold and improved blood glucose levels amongst those involved in the program. Dr. Butalia will use the JDRF-CIHR grant to expand this program to 5 major sites in Alberta and evaluate the impact of the program on participants’ mental health, diabetes management and care transition, and cost effectiveness of the program. The team will also develop a free, online toolkit that can be used by all communities across Canada to implement transition programs so that teenagers with T1D across the country can benefit. 

Adaptation and pilot evaluation of a digital intervention targeting the psychosocial needs of individuals with pregestational diabetes

Dr. Deborah Da Costa (McGill University)

Pregnancy and the postpartum period are a critical life stage where persons living with diabetes may be especially vulnerable to diabetes distress, anxiety and depression because of the added physical, emotional, behavioural and social readjustments that occur, including the adjustments to a new role and new care tasks. Diabetes-specific distress and poor mental health during the preconception and pregnancy period can adversely impact maternal and offspring outcomes, yet research in this field has not been prioritized and limited interventions exist. Dr. Da Costa and her team are experts in maternal mental health and have previously developed a successful digital intervention for pregnant and postpartum women and birthing persons. They will now use the JDRF-CIHR grant to collaborate with diabetes experts – primarily those living with T1D and T2D – to adapt their platform for women and birthing persons with pregestational diabetes. 

Dr. Da Costa will use a community-based participatory research approach to adapt their existing platform (HealthyMoms) for the diabetes community. This research approach ensures that the intervention is created by the community, for the community. The new adaptation – HealthyMoms DM+ – will be evaluated to determine its impact on mental health outcomes in people with pregestational diabetes (i.e., T1D or T2D prior to becoming pregnant) who are planning to become pregnant, are currently pregnant, or are in the 1-year postpartum period. This intervention will fill an important gap in current healthcare and web-based resources targeting the prevention of maternal psychological difficulties for those with pregestational diabetes. Promoting maternal health through tailored, preventive action has the potential to have a positive impact on parental, infant, and family outcomes across Canada.

Type 1 Diabetes, Exercise and Mentoring (TEAM) Trial: Peer mentorship to increase physical activity and quality of life in adolescents with type 1 diabetes

Dr. Jonathan McGavock (University of Manitoba)

Dr. McGavock and his team are focused on improving empowerment, resiliency, and autonomy in adolescents with T1D through physical activity. Despite physical activity being a crucial component of T1D management, essential for optimal quality of life, and a significant factor in mental health, daily physical activity levels remain low in adolescents with T1D. Dr. McGavock and his team will harness the effectiveness of peer-to-peer support and mentorship to create a behavioural intervention for adolescents with T1D. This program will provide strategies to address the three biggest barriers to physical activity in adolescents with T1D: (1) the increased risk and fear of hypoglycemia, (2) the trial and error to finding appropriate physical activity levels to maintain stable diabetes control, and (3) the limited motivation to exercise due to diabetes distress and existing mental health issues. 

Dr. McGavock and his team will conduct a 12-week program of group-based exercise led by mentors with T1D that are living healthy, active lifestyles. This program will seek to impart upon the participants a sense of mastery, relatedness and connection with peers, and a sense of autonomy to improve their quality of life through healthy, active lifestyles. The feasibility of this study, as well as the impact on mental health and diabetes outcomes, will help inform future physical activity guidelines for adolescents with T1D. 

Find Your CommuniT1D: Customized Virtual Peer Support for People Living with Type 1 Diabetes

Dr. Holly Witteman (Université Laval)

Using a unique approach, Dr. Witteman and her team will create a sustainable peer support program that is led by people with T1D, to improve the mental health and quality of life of people with T1D across Canada. CommuniT1D will be a virtual community led by people with T1D and supported by the research team who bring expertise in mental health, diabetes care, psychology, and social support. This program is intended to continuously adapt to the needs of the community, while the research will focus on the feasibility and acceptability of the program as well as its impact on diabetes distress, quality of life, well-being, diabetes management, and use of resources. 

CommuniT1D will be an ongoing virtual community that includes recurring small group meetings as well as large webinars. The small group meetings will foster relatedness while providing emotional and informational peer support. Peer leaders will be trained to moderate these meetings for people with T1D who share common characteristics or situations (for example, preferred language, ethnocultural group, stage of life, hobbies/interests, etc.). The large webinars will be planned for the community to deliver T1D-related information and hear from expert speaks on topics such as: depression and anxiety with T1D, better sleep with T1D, disordered eating in T1D, meditation and mindfulness tools, financial advice, caring for loved ones with T1D, etc. Stay tuned for more information on how you can be part of CommuniT1D. 


JDRF has a fulsome mental health and diabetes strategy, and these grants are part of this overall aim to improve the mental health of Canadians living with T1D. 

Once in recruitment phase, we will post information on how to be part of these, and other, studies in our ‘Participate in Research’ page 

Mental Health and Diabetes – where JDRF is today

May is Mental Health Awareness month, a national movement to raise awareness of the importance of mental health, and the structural gaps that exist in accessing treatment and support.

There is no physical health without mental health, and this truth is beginning to be woven into a holistic approach to health care. JDRF has long recognized the need to accelerate that integration – particularly as it relates to our mission to improve the lives of people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D).  

T1D affects a person’s emotional, social, and behavioural wellbeing throughout their lifetime, known collectively as psychosocial health. Psychosocial health is directly related to physical health, and to health outcomes like glycemic control in T1D. JDRF’s Mental Health Strategy aims to etter support this critical need that has long been underappreciated and undertreated in people with T1D.

T1D is a lifelong disease that involves constant blood sugar monitoring, counting carbs, fear of complications, and taking insulin every day to stay alive. The stress around diabetes management can manifest in depression, anxiety, and “diabetes distress” – a term describing the powerlessness, stress, guilt, relentless worry and denial that accompanies living with diabetes and the burden of self-care.  

But for too long, healthcare practitioners focused exclusively on the physical manifestations of T1D without addressing mental health. Plus, T1D can be an isolating condition, and many living with it don’t have the social or community support that can help.

Gaps in mental health care for people with diabetes

Routine T1D appointments often do not address mental health

No standard mental health care referral pathway for people with T1D

Few mental health providers with T1D expertise in Canada

Insufficient funding for psychosocial research in T1D

Evidence from psychosocial research in T1D is not put into practice

It is for this reason that JDRF Canada developed a three-pronged approach to its mental health strategy: 

  • Funding research 
  • Training mental health providers 
  • Engaging, educating and supporting the diabetes community and healthcare providers 

Funding Research

Strategic partnerships help JDRF leverage your generous donations and expand their reach. When we launched our Mental Health Strategy, we committed to funding new research in this area, and to working with partners for maximum impact. JDRF Canada and Brain Canada partnered in 2021 to co-fund three clinical studies designed to develop and test the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions to improve mental health and diabetes outcomes. Together, we awarded three grants to investigators building pilot studies designed in consultation with and for youth and young adults living with T1D. 

Dr. Marie-Eve Robinson, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) 

Teaching adolescents with type 1 diabetes self-compassion (TADS) to reduce diabetes distress: A randomized controlled trial. 

Dr. Robinson and her team are testing the effectiveness of a mindful self-compassion program on improving the diabetes distress experienced by youth aged 12-17 years with T1D. The program focuses on teaching self-kindness, mindfulness, and the idea that negative experiences are not personal failures, but part of the common human experience. Learning to leverage a self-compassionate mindset has the potential to not only lead to better mental health outcomes, but better glucose control too. 

Accomplishments: Dr. Robinson and her team held two eight-week self-compassion courses in the fall of 2022 and two more in the spring of 2023. 

Future plans: The results of this research will inform future study designs to adapt and optimize the program and explore the integration of such an intervention at a diabetes camp. This program could also be adapted to younger children with T1D. 

Dr. Tricia Tang, University of British Columbia  

A randomized wait-list controlled trial of the REACHOUT intervention 

Dr. Tang and her team at the University of British Columbia are using a virtual care platform to deliver peer-led mental health support to adults with T1D in rural and remote communities in BC, through a mobile app called REACHOUT. 

Accomplishments: The team recruited peer supporters and began training them in 2023. They have also conducted focus groups with peer supporters and participants from the initial pilot study, funded with generous donor support in 2022. This feedback allowed the team to make upgrades and improvements to adapt the REACHOUT platform. 

Future plans: Dr. Tang and her team will continue to recruit participants and peer supporters, as well as update the intervention curriculum based on feedback from the focus groups. 

Dr. Peter Selby, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) 

Technology-enabled comprehensive care for young adults with type 1 diabetes and diabetes distress 

Dr. Selby and his team are bringing experts in mental health and T1D care together with those who have lived experience of T1D to co-develop a solution for diabetes distress for adults between the ages of 18 and 29, a group disproportionately vulnerable to diabetes distress. The project will focus on a digital-first platform that can be scaled and implemented more broadly to reach more individuals living with T1D. 

Accomplishments: The investigator team kicked off their research by defining key elements of the project and developing a prototype platform or the diabetes distress intervention. They established a partner advisory committee of six people with lived experience of T1D to consult on all activities. 

Future plans: The team will adjust the program as needed and are planning to a randomized control trial to confirm the efficacy of the model before scaling nationally or tailoring it to specific groups. 

JDRF is helping to facilitate recruitment for both Dr. Tang and Dr. Peter Selby’s studies through our Clinical Trials webpage  

An additional $4M research investment  

In partnership with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), JDRF will shortly be announcing 4 new grants in the area of mental health and T1D with a total investment of $4 million ($1 million per grant).

Training Mental Health Providers  

JDRF Canada and Diabetes Canada collaborated to launch the Mental Health + Diabetes Training Program in English and French in March 2023. The course consists of two streams: one for mental health providers in Canada – including registered psychologists, clinical counsellors, psychotherapists, social workers, psychiatrists, and mental health nurses – and one for the diabetes community and healthcare providers, caregivers, family members, friends, and anyone who wishes to take the general stream of the course.

Despite the large number of people living with the condition, only a handful of mental health providers in Canada have in depth knowledge of the unique psychosocial challenges that come with living with diabetes. The goal of the Mental Health + Diabetes Training Program is to increase knowledge about diabetes among mental health providers in Canada so as to prepare them with sufficient knowledge and skills to assess and treat their patients living with the condition. This program provides knowledge and tools to help these providers deliver the best support to their clients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and expand the capacity of health systems to meet this need.

We are thrilled to collaborate with Diabetes Canada, which will allow us to expand our reach across the country to improve the quality of life of more Canadians with diabetes.

As of early April 2023, 176 mental health providers and 484 individuals in the general stream have registered for the Training Program.

“The Mental Health + Diabetes Training Program provided me with pertinent information about the physical and mental health effects of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. After completing all areas of the training including the e-learning modules and the live session, I feel confident to incorporate the comprehensive material into my private practice.” – Monica Murray, Registered Psychotherapist, Ontario 

Mental health providers who complete the Training Program can join a new, publicly accessible Mental Health + Diabetes Directory, to be launched later in the year. The bilingual directory will allow healthcare providers and people living with diabetes to be referred or self-refer to trained providers who can offer specialized support specific to living with this chronic disease.  

The directory will also help to address the system gap of a lack of a standard referral pathway for people living with diabetes to connect with a mental health provider trained specifically in the needs of people with diabetes. 

Engagement, Education and Support 

Our mental health strategy’s engagement, education and support activities will focus on health care providers as well as people who live with T1D and their families and caregivers.

JDRF’s new Mental Health Advisory Council, a diverse group of more than 100 volunteers from across Canada with lived experience of T1D, are collaborating with us to shape initiatives of the mental health strategy to ensure maximum impact and that they are driven by the T1D community, for the T1D community.

JDRF is currently developing new educational materials for healthcare providers – endocrinologists, nurses, GPs, and other healthcare professionals that cover some of the mental health aspects of T1D. We built a dedicated section on our website for healthcare providers and kicked off a virtual event about T1D and mental health in the fall of 2022. We are also encouraging healthcare providers and diabetes care teams to enroll in our Mental Health + Diabetes Training Program.

We will continue to collaborate with Diabetes Canada and other partners to expand and deepen healthcare provider engagement by delivering new educational resources such as electronic briefs, hosting webinars and educational events, and promoting the Mental Health + Diabetes Directory among healthcare providers, so they have a referral source for their patients. 

You can view past recordings on our YouTube channel
With our Mental Health Advisory Council’s input, we will continue to expand our mental health website content, build awareness of our Mental Health + Diabetes Directory so individuals feel empowered to self-refer, and develop new approaches to further educate and connect the community.

We are measuring success by evaluating the impact of each initiative, including with a research study to follow outcomes and impact of the Training Program and directory.

JDRF Canada extends our gratitude for the support of our Advisory Council, Cabinet Members and philanthropic partners, including charitable partners Brain Canada and Diabetes Canada. 

New funding investments and partnerships are still needed as we go forward. For more information, please email