Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists

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Speak out for Diabetes Educators and People with Diabetes

Mar 11, 2014

AADE’s strategic plan for 2013-2015 includes a priority of “Empowering People with Diabetes” with a purpose of heightening “awareness of the power of diabetes self-management and the value of diabetes educators...” One component of the plan for this priority includes work with a professional public communications firm, pci® (Public Communications Inc.), to increase awareness to stakeholders including people with diabetes, healthcare professionals, and third-party payers. This is a multi-year, multi-faceted outreach campaign to increase awareness of the value of diabetes self-management education and support (DSME/S). Recently, eYI included a PowerPoint presentation, which any of us can use to promote DSME/S.

I am one of a team of members enlisted as AADE media spokespersons.  To prepare for this role, we attended media training.  It was a great opportunity to learn tips for working with media as we represent diabetes educators (DEs).  But, it isn’t just this team that increases awareness of the benefits of DEs and DSME/S.  We all do this in some form by providing exceptional care; participation in health fairs; and communications with referring providers, insurance companies and to the general public.

During the media training, we were videotaped as if in real interviews, and then critiqued ourselves and each other.  I am not sure what I expected when I got to the training; in hindsight, the camera shouldn’t have been a surprise.  This was an incredibly helpful, but humbling, experience!

I expect many of you are called on to give interviews about diabetes and diabetes education, from local newspapers, new/radio stations, magazines, etc.   pci® provided us with great input and some tips for effective interviews.  I wanted to share some of them with you, in case your phone rings tomorrow morning with someone requesting an interview.

Probably the most important thing I learned is that I can be in charge of the interview.  I always relied on the reporter to ask me questions and I answered.  Not the most effective way to get the important points to the reader/listener.  Go in with a plan.  Know your primary message and don’t hesitate to get it out there more than once.  Lead into your point with emphasis saying something such as “A very important point is…” or “One key point people should remember is…” Then, give examples to support the point.

Of course, one key message we should include is the benefit of working with a diabetes educator.  Toot our horn, get our message out, let the world know, with self-management education from a DE, a person with diabetes can have improved clinical outcomes, decreased long term complications, and better satisfaction.

Prepare for the interview by learning about the show/paper/blog/reporter and determine what part you play in the story.  Think about questions you might be asked and how you will answer them.

When choosing words, avoid jargon, acronyms, and big words; be conversational, relaxed, yourself; yet be concise.  Give examples or tell a story if it helps to support your point (remembering that nothing is ever “off the record” especially when it comes to confidentiality). 

Let’s work together to get the word out about the importance of diabetes educators and DSME/S for people with diabetes.

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