Vice President of Global Access at Dexcom, Claudia Graham not only has type 1 diabetes, but she is someone who is professionally involved with the latest trends in media and medical devices for over two decades.
The first time I was introduced to Claudia, she was on a television show. Pat Gallagher was the host and Roche Diabetes Care sponsored the show. Back in the early 90’s this was pretty innovative. No one that had diabetes was talking about it to the general public in these formats.
At that time, I owned a medical supply business in San Francisco known by local healthcare professionals and patients, as the place to go, to get educated on how to use diabetes medical devices. I also read and sold diabetes books. After hearing Pat Gallagher’s radio show and seeing his television show with Claudia, my business partner who has type 1 diabetes, and I were inspired to launch our radio show “Diabetes on the Dial.” Diabetes Interview, which in 2004 became Diabetes Health, was an outgrowth of “Diabetes on the Dial. Claudia’s previous work with Pat Gallagher was an inspiration to Diabetes Health magazine.
Diagnosed in her sophomore year at college at USC, Claudia went through her trials and tribulations in learning how to manage her diabetes. She spent a week in the hospital. As a patient there, she asked the nurse what to do when it came to exercise, “ her response is something I did not understand” says Claudia. “It will mobilize the insulin faster,” said the nurse. Feeling more confused by her answer, she asked the nurse where she could purchase books on diabetes. The nurse referred her to June Biermann and Barbara Toohey, who were one of a handful of publishers who printed and sold books about diabetes.
Coming out of the hospital, Claudia was reticent to go on a trip she had already planned prior to her diagnosis; a semester at sea. Staying on top of her diabetes required urine test strips, syringes, Ultra Lent insulin and several other ancillaries. She also added a case of diet Pepsi that she learned to drink sparingly once at sea.
Claudia’s experience in the hospital and her semester abroad helped shaped her undeclared major to exercise physiology. These two significant experiences formed her professional career and kept her ahead of the diabetes trends.
Following her graduation with a Ph.D. in Exercise and Physiology from USC, she went on to write a book that later led her to doing an exercise segment on Pat Gallagher’s television show. She later realized she didn’t want to make a living as an exercise physiologist, so she went back to UCLA to work on a master’s degree in public health. The basis to entering the business world was influenced by her graduate degree in health policy. Claudia then went to the East Coast and took e a position as the Director of Business Development, then Marketing, for Warner Lambert (Parke-Davis).
Alfred Mann, the founder of MiniMed now Medtronic, began to recruit her from her position as the Director of Marketing for Warner Lambert (Parke-Davis). At that time, she was not open to leaving her post until she was ready to move back home, to Southern California. She then took a position with MiniMed as Vice President of Marketing & Product Development, and later served as Vice President of Global Access Therapy at Medtronic. She stayed at Medtronic until she bought a sailboat and retired.
Once Terry Gregg, President of Dexcom realized she had retired from Medtronic, he pursued her to join the Dexcom team as VP of Marketing back in 2008.
Today Claudia serves as Vice President of Global Access and works domestically and internationally to demonstrate the health and economic benefits of CGM to increase access to the therapy. Lately, a big part of her focus has been working on Medicare coverage for CGM, in conjunction with the JDRF, AACE, the Endocrine Society, Medtronic and J&J. “Collaboration is the key to getting things done for the collective good for people affected by diabetes,” syas Claudia.