Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists


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Karen Kemmis, PT, RN, DPT, MS, CDE, FAADE

Karen Kemmis

Hi! My name is Karen Kemmis, and I am a physical therapist (PT) and a certified diabetes educator (CDE). Most recently, I became a registered nurse! I also have attained certifications in Pilates for rehabilitation and exercise for aging adults. I work at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY where I split my time between our Joslin Diabetes Center affiliate, outpatient rehabilitation department, and as an adjunct professor for our PT program.

I have been a PT for 35 years (time flies when you’re having fun!) and have worked in diabetes education for 23 years. In my job as a diabetes educator, I teach group classes and meet with people individually to create safe and effective exercise/physical activity programs. I have several areas of interest including diabetes, osteoporosis, balance dysfunction, general orthopedic/painful conditions, and geriatrics. There are many interactions between each of these areas when it comes to individual patients.

I think the most satisfying thing I do is to guide patients to the best program for them based on their physical and social challenges. If it was as easy as “just going for a walk,” everyone would do it!

I have been extremely fortunate in my participation in the AADE over the past 20 years. I was involved in the creation of the Physical Activity Specialty Practice Group (SPG), became the first Chair-elect, then Chair. I was elected to SPG Liaison-elect to the Board of Directors, was Liaison, became a Director, then Treasurer and am currently the 2019 President. I was on the Planning Committee for the 2008 Annual Meeting, sat on the Membership Recruitment and Retention Committee, and on the AADE Grants Review Workgroup. These positions have allowed me to work with amazing diabetes educators and AADE staff members and have provided wonderful exposure to so many facets of diabetes education.

I am a HUGE proponent of exercise. To practice what I preach, I run every day (rain, snow, heat, cold…) and dabble in yoga and Pilates. I love to travel for leisure and business, which I do fairly often, especially for my role with AADE. 

Recent Posts:

  • AADE’s Vision for the Specialty: Cardiometabolic and Related Conditions

    By Karen Kemmis, PT, DPT, MS, CDE, FAADE | Feb 06, 2019

    There are six key strategies to support the Vision, but I’d like to highlight the "integration of cardiometabolic and related conditions" in this blog. While this is part of our new Vision for the Specialty, it is really something that we have done all along and we need to be sure that others know this. Learn three ways you can start sharing this message here.

  • Being Balanced for National Diabetes Awareness Month

    By Karen Kemmis, PT, DPT, MS, CDE, FAADE | Nov 09, 2018

    Balance is important for long-term health with diabetes. Just one bad step can cause a fall and lead to negative consequences that change a person’s life. Karen Kemmis shares valuable resources any diabetes educator can incorporate with their diabetes awareness-raising activities.

  • Changing the Conversation: Language Matters

    By Karen Kemmis, PT, DPT, MS, CDE, FAADE | Sep 24, 2018

    AADE and diabetes educators have been able to push the importance of using neutral, non-judgmental language when talking with or about a person with diabetes. Discover or revisit the videos and media that remind us words matter when talking with or about a person with diabetes.

  • Dive into DANA!

    By Karen Kemmis, PT, DPT, MS, CDE, FAADE | Aug 16, 2018

    Reading interesting information
    Have you "dipped your toes" and logged into DANA yet? Maybe you haven’t had the chance yet. President-elect Karen Kemmis summarizes why you should get over to DANA as soon as possible in this quick read.

  • Getting Ready for AADE18

    By Karen Kemmis, PT, DPT, MS, CDE, FAADE | Jul 24, 2018

    I don’t want to wish a minute of summer away, but I am getting excited for August 17 to 20 when I’ll be at AADE18! It will be here before we know it, so here are 10 recommendations I’d like to share in preparation for Baltimore.

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