Pioneer in Therapeutic Patient Education, Professor Jean-Philippe Assal, Wins 2013 IDF Europe Prize in Diabetes for Long-Standing Achievement
BRUSSELS, November 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –
Professor Jean-Philippe Assal was presented with the 2013 IDF Europe Prize in Diabetes
for Long-Standing Achievement today at an award ceremony at the European Parliament in
Brussels. The prize was handed over in recognition of his ground-breaking work in the
field of therapeutic patient education.
A diabetologist and endocrinologist by training, Professor Jean-Philippe Assal was
convinced early on that the education of people with diabetes needed to be an integral
part of the care provided by the healthcare team. For this reason, he founded the first
Diabetes Treatment and Teaching Unit at the University Hospital of Geneva in 1975. Working
closely with the World Health Organization, his unit became a WHO Collaborating Centre as
“The treatment of diabetes implies changes that affect all aspects of a person’s life:
work, friends, free time, how they eat and how they live”, comments Professor Assal. “For
a majority of people with diabetes, there is a long a complex path towards accepting their
condition and realizing that, if they follow certain rules, they can live a long and
healthy life,” he adds. “As healthcare providers, it is essential that we build a dialogue
with the person we treat and that we accompany them along this long and complex path. With
our Foundation, we have developed creative programmes, theatre of lived experience and
painting workshops, geared towards patients and their difficulties in coping with their
At the European level, Professor Assal has always been a strong advocate for patient
education and research in diabetes. He is one of the co-founders of the Diabetes Education
Study Group of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD). In addition,
Professor Assal is responsible for postgraduate courses on Therapeutic Patient Education
and long-term follow-up strategies in the Foundation he directs.
As part of World Diabetes Day celebrations in the European Parliament in Brussels,
Professor Assal received today the IDF Europe Prize in Diabetes for Long-Standing
Achievement. “We are pleased to hand over the prize to such a prominent figure in diabetes
education”, said Joao Manuel Valente Nabais, President of IDF Europe. “Through his
outstanding work, Professor Assal has improved the lives of countless people with diabetes
and inspired generations of healthcare providers.”
Professor Assal was present in Brussels to receive the award personally. “It is an
honour for me to receive this prize. This award is recognition of joint ventures with many
physicians and nurses throughout Europe. I owe them so much.” he said.
An initiative led by the European Region of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF
Europe), the Prize in Diabetes for Long-Standing Achievement is supported by an
educational grant from Eli Lilly. “Lilly Diabetes is proud of its commitment to diabetes
education and its long standing partnership with IDF Europe in support of the many
initiatives to help improve the daily lives of people with diabetes. It is a great
present the prize to Professor Assal and to be a part of recognising Professor Assal’s
significant life-time contribution in the field of diabetes patient education”, said Kern
Briggs, Senior Director European Public Affairs, Eli Lilly and Company.
Despite having retired, Professor Assal is still actively involved in the field of
therapeutic patient education for diabetes and other chronic diseases. He is the President
of the Foundation for Research & Training in Patient Education in Geneva. In addition, he
also helps several clinical centres to implement patient education strategies in various
countries and continues to organise training workshops for healthcare providers into the
field of creativity and its role in improving the long-term follow-up of patients.
As the winner of the IDF Europe Prize in Diabetes for Long-Standing Achievement,
Professor Assal will receive a cheque of 10,000 euros that he will donate to a charity of
About the IDF Europe Prize in Diabetes
Launched in 2012, the IDF Europe Prize in Diabetes rewards excellence, innovation and
commitment in Diabetes.
This award also aims at increasing awareness of diabetes and recognizing outstanding
individuals who have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of people with diabetes
through their work and through research.
This year, IDF Europe is awarding two prizes: one in the category Long-Standing
Achievement and one in the category Young Researcher.
IDF Europe is the European Region of the International Diabetes Federation. We are an
umbrella organisation uniting 66 diabetes associations in 47 countries. We represent
people with diabetes and their families, as well as health professionals working in
Through our work, we aim to influence policy, increase public awareness and encourage
health improvement, promote the exchange of best practice and high-quality information
about diabetes in all countries throughout the Region.
For more information, visit http://www.idf-europe.org.
SOURCE International Diabetes Federation European Region (IDF Europe)