The Diabetes Self Management Education Program Coordinator at Titus Regional Medical Center, Christina Graham RD, CDE, was recently selected to attend a prestigious training program for diabetes clinicians through the Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute. Christina, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, was among only thirty honorees in the United States to be chosen to attend the recent two-day conference, located in Silicon Valley, California.
Johnson & Johnson paid not only for the tuition for the conference, but also related travel expenses as well, including air fare and hotel accommodations. According to the Head of Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute, Kenneth Moritsugu MD, MPH, FACPM, “diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in the United States and in the rest of the world and no one entity, government or private, can do it all. Some of the greatest barriers lie in communication and in health literacy. The opportunities are boundless. We now know more and more about this disease, we now have more and more medications and devices to help manage diabetes.”
As a program participant, Mrs. Graham experienced first hand many challenges facing those with diabetes. Part of the training even included the requirement that attendees wear an insulin pump. The pump injected only saline instead of insulin, although the experience of actually being attached to the device and being responsible for the pump operation and set up was a very valuable tool. Additionally, the faculty of the institute was comprised of many of the world’s leading experts in the field of diabetes and the latest cutting-edge technologies.
The program had a particular emphasis on improved interactive educational tools for those on the front-line of diabetes care, with a focus in allowing the patient to choose many of the topics that they feel will most impact their daily lives. The curriculum includes guidelines and standards of care, in-person product training, insulin pump therapy, communication with patients and families, new tools and technologies, blood glucose pattern management and software solutions, and reimbursement for diabetes care.
According to Christina Graham, “being selected to attend this prestigious conference was like a dream come true for me. The program is considered to be the best in the nation and a cross-selection of program administrators across the United States was chosen to attend. I feel very fortunate in being selected to be a part of such an elite group of educators and others who are so passionate about care for those impacted by diabetes.”
Because diabetes is a chronic, lifelong condition, it presents unique issues for patients and their health care providers. The Diabetes Institute believes that the way to overcome these obstacles is to promote a new way of thinking about what is possible in diabetes care—moving the perceived best option from managing diabetes to mastering diabetes. The goal of the conferences such as the one Mrs. Graham attended February 11th and 12th is to arm health professionals on the front lines of delivering care with the latest information and practical skills to help their patients live healthier, longer lives.