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Reflections on Volunteerism

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by Molly McElwee-Malloy, RN, CDE | Dec 14, 2018

MM-QuoteIt’s that time of year again, when we take a moment to reflect on what 2018 has meant to us and all the wonderful people who were a part of it. For me, 2018 was stellar and one of the reasons why is that I got to see DANA (Diabetes Advanced Network Access) launched.

There were many “cooks in the kitchen” in the making of DANA, but one executive chef kept the balance of volunteers and staff to get this done in record time. She is AADE’s Chief Innovation Officer Crystal Broj. If you don’t know her, you should take some time to get to know her. She is a fierce executive with a heart of gold. When I first met Crystal, I had no idea what she would be doing at AADE, but I was really excited to find out since the organization is always embracing new ideas and technologies to keep diabetes educators on top of their game.

One thing we all agreed on: We need a resource for technology. Crystal could see this better than anyone else and had been working with a technology committee chaired by Malinda Peeples to put something wonderful in place. When I was asked to chair the committee in 2017-2018, I could not have said “yes” fast enough. I distinctly remember Crystal laughing on the phone as I said “yes” before she could finish her sentence. 


It was Crystal and our past president, Nancy D’Hont, who saw the value in translating this into a service that AADE could provide to members. There was nothing more I needed to hear than that they saw the value in this. I would give anything for this to be a service people could use


Before I met Crystal, one of my areas of expertise was reviewing diabetes apps for healthcare professionals. I really took the time to check features like security and clinical value, and considered how the patient would interact with the information. The six to eight hours of critical research included finding relevant studies and written reviews, assessing validity of the app’s complaints and reputation of the app developers, seeking reports of injury and evidence of clinical benefit. And last but absolutely not least, what was the use case and how could this be used in practice? 

I would sometimes get three requests a day from educators for an updated list of app reviews, sometimes the request was to review a new app. While I love technology, the idea of doing this on a volunteer basis, with a full-time job at a startup, with two babies was not my idea of a good time. It was Crystal and our past president, Nancy D’Hont, who saw the value in translating this into a service that AADE could provide to members. There was nothing more I needed to hear than that they saw the value in this. I would give anything for this to be a service people could use, including myself, so I could focus on other things—like my next career move (you thought I was going to say babies, didn’t you?).

DANA launched in August of 2018 and has been a fabulous resource for app reviews, technology reviews and reliable impartial information for educators on all things diabetes technology. I can’t say enough great things about DANA, or about the leadership at AADE, past and present. 

If you’ve never considered volunteering for AADE, here’s your invitation to view opportunities. It has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and has led me to meet some amazing leaders who have taught me a lot. And if you haven’t checked out DANA yet, what are you waiting for?! 


Molly McElwee Mallow

About the Author:

Molly McElwee-Malloy is the Clinical Services Manager for Tandem Diabetes Care. She previously worked for TypeZero Technologies and UVA's Center for Diabetes Technology. Molly is the chair of the technology workgroup for AADE. She's active in the diabetes online peer support community: @MollyMacT1D.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Tandem.

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