Eliot M. Lurier, CPA

CFO of Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston

Eliot M. Lurier, CPA
Photo by Gretchen Ertl/AP Images

Every day is incredibly exciting from every aspect—from business, from research, from technology. It's personal to me ...

Familiar surroundings: I have spent my career in life sciences, most recently as the CFO of a publicly traded company in the genetics space. A recruiter's appeal floated across my screen looking for a CFO of Joslin Diabetes Center, a world-renowned not-for-profit in Boston that is affiliated academically with Harvard Medical School and is a leader in diabetes prevention, research, education, and care. It was very surreal. I came in and I said to everybody as I interviewed, "Understand that I've been coming here an awful long time."

The CFO and a patient: I've been a patient at Joslin for over 35 years. This year I reach a milestone of being a 50-year Type 1 diabetic. It's a blessing to be able to come here every day after having received care here all these years, and to be able to help the institution and patients just like me.

Balancing act: Diabetes is a worldwide epidemic. Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune disease that destroys the body's ability to make insulin, a hormone used to break down and store energy. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn't produce enough insulin and/or is unable to use insulin properly. Lifestyle choices, diet, and a whole slew of other factors are causing the Type 2 epidemic. The challenge is, how do you work with patients and give them, with limited dollars, what they need?

A structured approach: Joslin has world-class research facilities, funded in large part by the National Institutes of Health, with expert adult and pediatric clinical care and education all under one roof. The Center has taken the approach of hiring more businesspeople to bring structure, policies, and procedures to the organization. We're looking at everything we do, how we do it, to better streamline our financial and operating capacities.

Getting personal: I get to walk around every day and work with what I consider to be the best and smartest diabetes-based people in the world. Every day is an incredibly exciting journey from every aspect—business, research, technology, fundraising, and helping to educate. It's personal to me, so everything I hear relates to me and thousands and thousands of people like me.

As told to Sheon Ladson Wilson, sheonlwilson@aol.com, a freelance writer in Durham, N.C.

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