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Why I am Joining Virta Health After 40 Years in Diabetes Care

April 23, 2020
April 23, 2020

I have dedicated the last forty years of my career to addressing our nation’s growing type 2 diabetes epidemic, most recently as the Chief Scientific and Medical Officer for the American Diabetes Association. As a clinician and clinical researcher, I have pursued evidence-based ways to treat and prevent diabetes, searching for a breakthrough treatment that can change the trajectory of the worsening diabetes epidemic.

It is this pursuit that led me to Virta Health, where, after serving as an advisor for nearly three years, I am excited to announce that I have joined as Chief Medical Officer.

Put simply, I have yet to encounter a solution that simultaneously produces life-altering outcomes like Virta’s that also can be scaled to millions of people. The need has never been more important. Almost half of the adult population has T2D or prediabetes, the latter of which is increasingly affecting young people, too.

I am joining Virta because I believe we can reverse this trend. What Virta has done for people with diabetes cannot be ignored. Before Virta, the idea that a sustainable, scalable nutritional intervention would emerge to help people with T2D achieve and sustain normal HbA1c (blood sugar levels) without diabetes medications seemed like an impossibility.

But this is the new reality, and the opportunity ahead.

This future, perhaps unsurprisingly, has technology at its core, underscoring another key reason I am excited about the next wave of chronic disease treatment—namely, Virta’s novel care delivery system.

Virta is pushing a tectonic shift in diabetes care via its continuous remote care platform. Patients receive fully-virtual, proactive and continuous medical care along with expert behavioral coaching—a stark difference compared to the episodic care (15 minute provider visits every few months) most people receive today. This enables the sustainable application of interventions like Virta’s novel nutrition therapy, and the safe de-prescription of medications when they are no longer needed.

This model elegantly scales to other chronic conditions, too. Virta is already driving sustained improvement in markers of inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and more.

If we want to make population-level changes to global health, it is obvious now that this is how care should be delivered. Continuous remote care is fundamental for transformative patient outcomes and a radically better patient experience. And, in the era of COVID-19, it is a critical means of protecting the health of those living with chronic conditions, both for the virtual delivery and the role it plays in delivering glycemic control, where Virta shines.

As for my role, I am focused on translating our best-in-class patient outcomes data into sustainable, bottom-line impact for healthcare payers. I’ll also be working on improving our intervention strategies, furthering Virta’s knowledge of the clinical impact of continuous remote care, and expanding this model to other conditions.

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity ahead of us—a chance to reverse the trajectory of the global type 2 diabetes epidemic. I am very much looking forward to this new chapter in my career, and doing everything I can to make Virta a treatment option for the millions of people who want, and simply deserve, better health.

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