News & Publications

Are you a diabetes expert?

Aug 24, 2010

This week, I was happy to receive several copies of the Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation Journal which focused on diabetes. My colleague, the editor, had asked me to coordinate the issue and serve as a guest editor. It was a great project to work on and wonderful to see as a completed piece. I am incredibly proud of it and grateful to those who authored articles.

The articles in this issue cover: aging and diabetes, medications, healthy eating, physical activity/exercise prescription, the impact of diabetes-related complications on activity, vision rehabilitation, foot care, and common musculoskeletal disorders-all related to aging adults with diabetes.

While searching for authors and organizing the issue, I realized what expertise we have as diabetes educators! The knowledge we might take for granted is knowledge that other healthcare professionals might not have. We are diabetes experts!

What is an expert? The dictionary definition is “a person with special knowledge or ability,” or “someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill…in a specific domain” or “a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation in a particular area of study.” Yes, we are diabetes experts!

I started teaching PT students a section on diabetes several years ago. I knew half of what I know now, but it was twice what others knew. Do you teach or lecture to healthcare professionals about diabetes care? If so, where and who do you teach? Think about teaching in your profession or crossing into others. Pharmacists can teach exercise professionals who can teach nurses who can teach pharmacists!

We are somewhat unique in how we work with people with diabetes, a chronic disease requiring much self-management. Think about what we do; the ideas of patient-centered care, self-empowerment, and use of motivational interviewing. Then, include the evidence-based standards of care we use.

Consider going into the community to share your knowledge of diabetes care. Offer your services. Knock on doors. Make phone calls. Write an article. Present hospital grand rounds. When we teach a patient, we help one person. When we teach a healthcare professional, we can impact hundreds of people with diabetes. And, teaching a group can impact thousands. We all know the staggering numbers of people with diabetes and pre-diabetes, and we can’t be there for all of them. I know it may be scary to think about doing this, but remember, you are the expert. So, share your knowledge and help many.

Share some ideas about teaching or writing you have done or thought about doing. Do you have fears? Reservations? Comment on them. Let’s work together to get more of us out there as diabetes experts, teaching healthcare professionals about diabetes care.


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  1. Sep 22, 2010

    I work at a medical school clinic. I am often asked to lecture on Medical Nutrition Therapy for diabetes/CHO counting, etc. to the medical students, residents, dietetic students, etc. I have also done talks on insulin pump therapy for the diabetes fellows and the general pediatric attendings. Our adult endocrinology clinic also does a week long diabetes education program for allied health professionals and occ even physicians sign up. I used to be the co-coordinator and gave 8 of the lectures ranging from CHO counting to reimbursement to insulin pump therapy, etc., but since I transferred to the pediatric clinic I now just give the basic CHO counting lecture. This is in addition to seeing pts in the clinic and teaching the diabetes class for our newly diagnosed kids.
  2. Sep 05, 2010

    Hi Michael, Thanks for the response, and to the others as well. Can you define Health Specialists? As we look to getting others to help us bring diabetes education to so many, we need to reach out to various providers. I think you may give us some ideas as to who can help! Thanks, Karen
  3. Aug 26, 2010

    Hello Karen, Interesting topic. I am a diabetes expert, also Emeritus Research Professor of Medicine. I teach Health Specialists to bring patients' diabetes control into the mandated target ranges. It is simple to do, with the right tools. For 4 years now, I have been hosting a weekly support group as well. We do group training sessions monthly in our Community Center on Hollywood Beach in FL. A Michael Albisser
  4. Aug 25, 2010

    Hi Karen, I would like to share the interviews that has created to help keep people in the loop about what was going on during the 2010 AADE. Thanks Joe Benson
  5. Aug 24, 2010

    Karen, Great job! I printed and read the articles you authored. I learned a lot about the effects of diabetes on musculoskeletal conditions and will quote you when I discuss with patients the connection between the two. I also got a lot of diagnoses I can use to document on the progress notes

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