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A Statement from the American Association of Diabetes Educators - A New Title for the Specialty

Aug 20, 2019

At the 2019 AADE Annual Conference in Houston, AADE President Karen Kemmis previewed the decision to reposition the title diabetes educator to diabetes care and education specialist, with a full rollout of the title coming in January 2020.

Over the last year, the AADE Board of Directors has engaged a variety of stakeholder groups, from people with diabetes to professional organizations, to define a vision for the specialty. Throughout this process, one message was repeatedly stated: the term diabetes educator does not reflect the full range of knowledge, skills and value that the specialty provides. It became equally clear that a change to diabetes care and education specialist will position AADE members and those working in diabetes care as core members of the diabetes care team and, in doing so, bring recognition, an elevated understanding of what diabetes educators do and expanded utilization of diabetes self-management and education services.

The decision was data driven, with significant input from AADE members and a variety of stakeholders including nonmembers working in diabetes education, provider groups (family physicians, endocrinologists, nurse practitioners, PAs and other specialists), payers, industry and partner organizations. Key groups representing people with diabetes were also included. The goal was to find out whether the title of diabetes educator served the specialty and AADE members well and is the right one for the future. 

While no decision of this significance is taken lightly, AADE was pleased that the information and data generated in this effort demonstrated a clear and considerable preference for diabetes care and education specialist across all stakeholders.

Most telling is how members and other stakeholders perceived each of the titles. Through this extensive process, AADE was able to encapsulate perceptions into two key statements:

  • Diabetes Educator - A knowledgeable, yet supportive and approachable resource that provides person-centered education to persons with diabetes.
  • Diabetes Care and Education Specialist - A trusted expert of the integrated care team that provides collaborative, comprehensive, and person-centered care and education to persons with diabetes.

The addition of the word "care" captures the role diabetes educators play in the larger care team, and the word "specialist" adds a level of expertise, professionalism and recognition to the title. 

While the perceptions of the term diabetes educator have a positive tone, those associated with diabetes care and education specialist project a bold and clear picture of the roles and impact the specialty has on people with diabetes and the care team.

We all know that health care is rapidly changing. Value-based care is replacing fee-for-service, and outcomes measures are driving emerging models of care. In order to ensure the future, AADE is embracing these changes, defining a vision for the future and positioning the specialty as an integral part of the diabetes care team. 

The AADE Board has already begun the work of engaging stakeholders to integrate the diabetes care and education specialist title into our collective vocabulary. In Houston, AADE shared research with partner associations such as the American Diabetes Association, JDRF, the Endocrine Society, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, peer support organizations like Beyond Type 1 and more. Across the board, there was very strong support for the update.

There is much to do to operationalize this new title and bring it to life in the best possible way. Over the coming months, AADE will continue to work with key stakeholders to formalize this new title with a full rollout in January 2020. For frequently asked questions click here.  

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