s I write this blog, I have NFL football games on the television. During the month of October, the NFL highlights Breast Cancer Awareness with lots of bright pink on the players, coaches, officials, cheerleaders, and the field. What a great way to draw attention to this serious disease. I expect most of you know that November is National Diabetes Month®. It will be here before we know it; now is the time to plan!
With an estimated 29.1 million Americans with diabetes (including 8.1 million who are not diagnosed) and another 86 million with pre-diabetes, we all need to work to raise awareness about this disease. The American Diabetes Association reports that diabetes remains the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. With so many Americans affected, there are great possibilities and opportunities for National Diabetes Awareness Month.
Get involved with the diabetes online community
Do you have a plan for increasing awareness about diabetes, prediabetes, and/or how diabetes educators can help improve self-management and provide support for those affected by diabetes? Here are some ideas I have that might get the word out:
- Hold a screening related to diabetes (for example, use a pen and paper risk assessment; hold a blood glucose screening event; or screen a specific aspect of diabetes such as eyes or feet).
- Give a presentation about diabetes management at your workplace or in a community venue (for example, a senior residence or church or community center).
- Have an informational table in your facility.
- Contact the local media to bring awareness about diabetes month, diabetes, and/or diabetes education and care.
- Participate in a diabetes walk in your community.
- Contact your government representatives to advocate for people with diabetes and diabetes educators.
- Provide information about diabetes management. This year I will put several of the great tip sheets from AADE in our waiting rooms including: Healthy Football Season, Diabetes Online Community and Protect Against the Flu.
- Do a shout-out through social media to raise awareness.
- Get involved with the diabetes online community.
- Keep your eye out to participate in the many awareness activities launched by others.
These are just a few ideas. I expect many of you have other great ideas. Consider commenting on this blog to share them with all of us. It is our time to educate the public about diabetes, diabetes prevention, and diabetes education during 2016’s National Diabetes Month.
About the Author
Karen Kemmis is a physical therapist and certified diabetes educator, and also holds certifications in Pilates for rehabilitation and exercise for aging adults. She is based out of SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY and splits her time between a Joslin Diabetes Center affiliate, an outpatient rehabilitation department, and a PT program where she is an adjunct professor.