By Chuck Macfarlane, CEO, Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists
There is no question that racial disparities impact health and well-being. There have been many painful reminders of the harm racism and systematic oppression causes. That is why ADCES is making a renewed commitment to address them in a thorough and comprehensive manner.
We know health equity challenges are complex and involve a multitude of issues and barriers. These include socioeconomic status, access to safe housing, transportation and healthy foods, and the ability to tap social support networks, to name a few.
However, as an organization and as individuals we have a role to play in making a difference. The ADCES Board of Directors and staff leadership have developed a plan to address this from multiple angles:
- Expanding the level of diversity within our membership and leadership.
- Creating a variety of resources to ensure you are equipped to provide culturally appropriate care.
- Advocating for equal access through our legislative and policy work.
- Offering a wide variety of educational programming that address health inequities and social determinants of health.
- Placing a renewed focus on health equity in ADCES in Practice, our practice journal, and via our Cultural Diversity Community of Interest within ADCES Connect.
- Increasing staff training that address implicit bias and other core topics.
- Appointing a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council to develop a charter and path forward that will include leadership development, membership recruitment, service and resource alignment, and a focus on reducing disparities in care based on social determinants of health.
On the staff side, Kimberly Terrell has been appointed as the new Diversity and Inclusion Manager. To better progress health equity within membership, we are in the process of selecting members of the DEI Council. Responsibilities of this council will include:
- Addressing and bringing to life relevant DEI efforts through programs and learning opportunities for ADCES and its members.
- Recommending ADCES-sponsored diabetes related outreach to communities of color that fosters inclusion and embodies strategic priorities and values.
If you are interested in serving on this council, please email Kimberly at firstname.lastname@example.org by December 11.
While the council gets up and running, there are many resources we have recently created that provide you with perspective on issues of health equity.
ADCES In Practice. Our journals have long included research and practical articles giving you ideas on ways to make care equitable in your area. In the November issue, editor Teresa Pearson suggests that DSMES programs consider a QI project that goes beyond stratifying population based on clinical measures but take that next step and stratify it by race/ethnicity to identify gaps. Additional articles explore in influence of participants’ economic class on diabetes outcomes, and provide an inspiring story about how a hospital chaplain, a diabetes care and education specialist, a local faith community and a retail pharmacy joined forces to provide medication and follow up to people with diabetes in need.
The Huddle: Conversations with the Diabetes Care Team. The official podcast of ADCES addresses many issues related to health equity. A recent episode highlighted Project Vida, a program in El Paso which serves one of the most impoverished communities in the US. Guest Sandra Rodriquez shares how their program adopted a wellness approach (body, mind and spirit) to care. Access this episode and more at DiabeteEducator.org/Huddle .
DiabetesEducator.org. Our website also houses a multitude of perspectives and resources. From our Perspectives in Diabetes blog to our cultural competency page. To stay up to date with the latest in health equity resources and our work in this area, visit DiabetesEducator.org/HealthEquity.
During this time when we reflect and think about what we’re thankful for, I’m personally thankful that we are placing a renewed and stronger focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. I hope you are reflecting on this issue as well and thinking about ways that you can help us build a more equitable future for all people with diabetes.
ADCES Perspectives on Diabetes Care
The Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists Perspectives on Diabetes Care covers diabetes, prediabetes and other cardiometabolic conditions. Not all views expressed reflect the official position of the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists.
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HEALTHCARE DISCLAIMER: This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always talk to your diabetes care and education specialist or healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. To find a diabetes care and education specialist near you, visit DiabetesEducator.org/Find.