Who are you?
Hello, my name is Jacob Melson. I’m brand new to the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Young Professional Leadership Council (YPLC), and a member of the YPLC’s Diabetes Prevention Group.
A little bit about me!
For over five years I have worked as the Behavioral Health Epidemiologist at Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Epidemiology Center, which serves the 34 Tribes, four urban programs, and three service units in the Bemidji Indian Health Service Area. Many of the public health grants and contracts I work on focus on either alcohol and other drug abuse or mental health issues. When I am not collaborating with Tribes to help them collect and analyze data, I enjoy being active, riding my bicycle, and spending time with family and friends.
What is your connection to diabetes?
Diabetes runs in my family. My late grandpa was a Type 1 Diabetic, and I have been a Type 1 Diabetic for over 25 years. Although I have struggled with Diabetes most of my life and lived through countless highs and lows, I am grateful for the advances in technology and support of family, friends, and the ADA community. I am feel fortunate to have an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor, which is particularly helpful since I have Hypoglycemia Unawareness.
How did you end up joining the YPLC?
I first heard about the YPLC while volunteering at the ADA’s Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes. I was interested in learning more and potentially being part of the YPLC because I had previously had positive experiences volunteering for and participating in other ADA events, such as Tour de Cure and Camp Needlepoint. Therefore, I decided to apply to be part of the YPLC and attended my first YPLC meeting in January 2016.
What do you hope to take away from your work at the YPLC?
I hopeful that volunteering with the YPLC is beneficial to both the YPLC and myself. I am excited that the YPLC is relatively new and that members have the opportunity to influence and shape various ADA and YPLC initiatives. After volunteering at Camp Needlepoint last summer, I am particularly interested in how Camp Needlepoint could potentially collect and use data, which could benefit the campers and staff. In addition, I am looking forward to getting to know and collaborate with YPLC members and others, since you can’t have too many Diabetic friends!