By Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, BC-ADM, FAADE
It’s important for all diabetes care and education specialists to be aware that AADE has been at the forefront of engaging and collaborating with the leaders and members of the peer support communities (PSC) for the last few years. This effort echoes AADE intentionally placing people with, affected by, and at risk for diabetes at the center of our 2016-18 strategic plan. AADE has become increasingly committed to raising the awareness of and referral to peer support aand PSC as one way to improve the emotional wellbeing of people with diabetes, their caregivers and, in turn, diabetes self-care and outcomes.
An operational definition of PSC is “a collective of in-person and online (or both) communities that have a broad base of objectives and serve a variety of audiences, but at their core all aim to offer peer-to-peer support for people with diabetes and their caregivers.1 A few peer support communities you might recognize: Diabetes Daily, Children with Diabetes, College Diabetes Network and Diabetes Sisters. A definition of peer support is, “support from a person who has knowledge from their own experiences with diabetes, a person with diabetes, or a person affected by diabetes (e.g., immediate family member or caregiver).”2,3
Below are the major milestones that have transpired over the eight years of AADE’s collaboration with peer support communities and how this collaboration is moving forward in 2020.
Timeline and Milestones
I’ve been privileged to work on many of these initiatives on behalf of AADE, as the initial co-lead for this collaboration with David Edelman, CEO of Diabetes Daily. AADE leaders and staff deserve much thanks and gratitude for prioritizing this collaboration as an integral part of our work.
As a diabetes care and education specialist, it’s my hope that you avail yourself of the ever-widening list of resources on peer support from AADE (see below). AADE just relaunched their peer support resources and has divided these into for people with diabetes (available at DiabetesEducator.org/PeerSupport) and for healthcare professionals (available at DiabetesEducator.org/PeerSupportforHCP. Most importantly, I encourage you to refer clients and caregivers you counsel and interact with to seek out peer support and peer support communities. I’ve witnessed first-hand over and over the power of this peer-to-peer support. The reality is simply knowing and connecting with others walking in the same shoes can make a big difference! Some people with diabetes refer to this as finding their tribe.
For more on peer support and how you can incorporate into your practice, visit DiabetesEdcator.org/PeerSupportforHCP.
About the Author
Hope Warshaw, is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She has spent her career involved in diabetes care and education and has a consulting practice based in Asheville, NC. She has been actively involved with promoting the role and value of peer support to people with diabetes, caregivers and healthcare providers for nearly a decade. She was President of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) in 2016 and currently serves on the Academy and Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation Board.
- Warshaw H, Edelman D. Building bridges through collaboration and consensus: expanding awareness and use of peer support and peer support communities among people with diabetes, caregivers, and health care providers. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2019;13(2): 206-212.
- Warshaw H, Hodgson L, Heyman M, et al. The Role and Value of Ongoing and Peer Support in Diabetes Care and Education. The Diabetes Educator. 2019;45(6):569-579.
- Litchman ML, Walker HR, Ng AH, et al. State of the science: a scoping review and gap analysis of diabetes online communities. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2019;13(3):466-492.
- American Association of Diabetes Educators. Educators and Peer Support Communities: Working Together for the Good of People with Diabetes. Accessed December 4, 2019.
AADE Perspectives on Diabetes Care
The American Association of Diabetes Educators Perspectives on Diabetes Care covers diabetes, prediabetes and other cardiometabolic conditions. Not all views expressed reflect the official position of the American Association of Diabetes Educators.
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