Working Life: Dr Anna Clarke, health promotion and research manager, Diabetes Ireland

Dr Anna Clarke,  health promotion and research manager for Diabetes Ireland, tells us about her working day. 


I leave home early to beat the traffic and head for our office in Santry which is also a care centre. We offer a range of services: dietetics, podiatry, retina screening and education. Weight control is vital in management of diabetes, as is good foot care. People with diabetes can develop complications such as foot ulcers which can lead to amputation, avoidable with good foot care. Diabetes can also cause damage to blood vessels in the eye so annual retina screening is vital.


I check emails and respond to urgent queries, including from the media. I need to keep abreast of reports relating to diabetes because they inevitably generate calls to our helpline and traffic to our website


We are currently inviting applications for funding for Irish diabetes-focused research. The successful application will receive €180,000 for up to three years through our subsidiary, the Diabetes Ireland Research Alliance. We also partner with JDRF, a global organisation funding type 1 diabetes research. This generates a lot of queries from researchers and the public around what is happening close to where they live.


I have a bite to eat and a brisk walk.


We recently screened more than 500 people in Dundrum Shopping Centre as part of World Diabetes Day, so I have some thank-you notes to send out to the volunteers. The screening picked up 54 abnormal glucose readings and all these were advised to attend their GP for formal testing. Alarmingly, 55% of people were carrying excess weight which, without lifestyle changes, increases their risk of getting type 2 diabetes.


We have a practice nurse meeting coming up so I go through the logistics. I also have work to do around an upcoming meeting between our Co Donegal branch and Health Minister Simon Harris.


We’ve just launched a new book for people with type 1 diabetes so I need to check that it’s being distributed to the relevant venues. People need up-to-date information so these books need updating as technology/medications advances.


For downtime, I enjoy running, yoga and reading. I’m currently engaged in French studies.

Helpline: 1850 909 909


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