South Asian Health Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award 2015

South Asian Health Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award 2015

The Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded annually at the SAHF Annual Diabetes Conference. This year the Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP presented Professor Sudhesh Kumar the Lifetime Achievement Award from the South Asian Health Foundation for reducing inequality of Health Outcomes in the South Asian Diaspora in the UK

Professor Sudhesh Kumar is Dean of Warwick Medical School and Director of Institute of Digital Healthcare, WMG.  He is also a Consultant Physician at University Hospital Coventry. His research interest is obesity and it complications, particularly type 2 diabetes. His interests include developing novel approaches to managing diabetes that will ultimately transform and improve patient care and treatments. He has published over 220 papers and five books on these subjects.

For optimal outcomes in patients with type 2 diabetes, it is essential that early effective control of hyperglycaemia be achieved through lifestyle change, patient education and drug therapy for diabetes and related risk factors. There is now a plethora of guidelines for management of these conditions. Conceptually at least, the management of patients with type 2 diabetes appears to be straightforward. However, the reality is that most patients do not appear to achieve target values for HbA1C, LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. South Asians in the UK appear to have poorer control of these risk factors and, by missing obesity at the earlier stage, we lose opportunities for prevention.

Besides considering the algorithm as a guide, it is necessary for the practitioner to tailor the approach to treatment for south Asians. First, there may be biological reasons for the variation due, for instance, to genetic differences. Second, there may be socio-economic and behavioural reasons for non-achievement of treatment goals. Patient education and empowerment may help, but may not be sufficient on their own. Third, in certain groups of patients, such as obese diabetic patients, the algorithm may not lead to achievement of good control in all. Here, use of alternative approaches, such as newer anti-diabetic agents or bariatric surgery, may be appropriate. Patients of South Asian origin may for social and cultural reasons require care to be tailored somewhat differently to the usual “one size fits all” approach suggested by guidelines. Innovative approaches to the delivery of services using technology, the use of patient experts, nurses and allied health professionals as part of a team, and culturally appropriate care are required to mitigate the consequences of diabesity in South Asians.

The South Asian Health Foundation is very proud of the phenomenal work and researches conducted by Professor Sudesh Kumar and are honoured to award him this prestige prize.