Kirkman Receives ADA’s Outstanding Physician Clinician in Diabetes Award

Sue Kirkman, MD, professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology and metabolism, has received the American Diabetes Association’s 2020 Outstanding Physician-Clinician in Diabetes Award, recognizing her outstanding achievements in improving diabetes clinical practice. The honor is scheduled to be presented at the American Diabetes Association’s 80th Scientific Sessions in Chicago, Illinois, in June.

Kirkman Receives ADA’s Outstanding Physician Clinician in Diabetes Award click to enlarge Sue Kirkman, MD, and Tenesha Medlin, RN, at the UNC Diabetes and Endocrinology Clinic at Meadowmont.

“This is the most meaningful award that a physician can receive at the ADA,” said John Buse, MD, PhD, chief of the division of endocrinology. “Sue has treated thousands of patients, trained hundreds of providers, but more importantly, her selfless efforts have enhanced the lives of all people with diabetes, and the fabric of our community. What distinguishes Sue even further is her enormous contribution to global thought, with groundbreaking position statements that have contributed to standards of care for diabetes.”

Kirkman is at the forefront of diabetes research and education, and cares for adults with all forms of diabetes at UNC Hospitals Diabetes & Endocrinology Clinic at Meadowmont. She is also medical director of the UNC Diabetes Care Center’s Clinical Trials Unit, which consists of five investigators, five study coordinators, and three research assistants. At any given time, the unit conducts 15-20 trials in type 1 and type 2 diabetes and in obesity.

From 2007-2012, Kirkman served as Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs at the American Diabetes Association, having oversight of multiple areas including development of the Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes and other ADA positions statements and reports. She led efforts on many important statements, including the highly cited Diabetes and Older Adults report. She revamped the processes by which the ADA develops its major annual guidelines, Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes, to enhance their rigor and transparency. Kirkman recognized that primary care providers are essential to diabetes care, starting ADA’s Primary Care Advisory Group and helping to initiate the “Diabetes is Primary” continuing education conferences for PCPs.

Since returning to academic medicine, Kirkman has continued to be an active volunteer with the American Diabetes Association, serving on the Post-Graduate Course planning committee, several guideline committees, and the Editorial Board of Diabetes Care. She has received a Distinguished Reviewer Award from ADA’s scholarly journals for each of the past five years.

Kirkman is site principal investigator of several clinical trials including the NIDDK-funded GRADE study, for which she also serves as co-chair of the Outcomes Committee. She was recently co-PI of a CDC-funded grant to better distinguish between type 1 and type 2 diabetes in adults, using EHR and survey data.

The ADA award announcement can be found at

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