Each issue we profile AADE members, asking them how they got into diabetes education, what it means for them, and the challenges they see for educators in their practice.
Britt Rotberg, MS, RDN, LD, CDE, BC-ADM
Why did you choose to become a diabetes educator? I was presenting my Master's thesis at a conference when I attended a lecture by a diabetes educator. I was so impressed by what I learned and wanted to "be her when I grew up." I learned that CDEs are the main educational contact for people with diabetes, and viewed CDEs as providing safe havens for diabetes education.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? I enjoy having deep clinical discussions with healthcare professionals about the evolving field of diabetes care. Also, I love closing the gap between patients and providers by helping them uncover how to better achieve their goals. The most rewarding part of my job is when a patient arrives disheartened and overwhelmed with the high burden of diabetes, but after a breakthrough, leaves the office completely and positively transformed.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing diabetes educators today? The biggest challenge facing CDEs is also our greatest opportunity. Diabetes educators encounter a variety of patients from different cultural backgrounds. We therefore need to know our patient population's dietary, behavioral, and lifestyle practices to serve them most effectively. The role of the diabetes educator has already undergone major changes, so in the coming years it will be a time where past, present, and future diabetes educators will be trained to not only focus on the clinical principles of diabetes care, but to also be culturally sensitive.
How has being an AADE member helped you treat patients? To me, AADE is so much more than a diabetes organization; it has served as the platform to advance my personal and professional experiences, which translated into patient care. AADE offers a plethora of opportunities (national meetings, access to experts, educational webinars, research journals, and articles) and you can get more out of it than you put in. AADE has helped me flourish into the diabetes educator I wanted to be by giving me all the tools I needed. Thanks to AADE, I have directed two DEAP nationally accredited diabetes programs, presented my research at multiple national meetings, published in peer-reviewed journals, but most importantly, connected with educators and people with diabetes.
What are some of your interests outside of diabetes education?
As a minority Jewish Latina, I work through the American Jewish Committee to be a bridge between 21st century immigrant communities (Latinos and others) and more established communities.
My hobbies include swimming, hiking, horseback riding, and planning and coordinating events within my community. I believe in performing "tikkun olam" (acts of kindness performed to perfect or repair the world).