Diabetes Educators Conference 2015

Today we continue our coverage of this big American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) yearly meeting that attracted nearly 3,000 educators and a few thousand more D-experts together in New Orleans last week.    

Our own Wil Dubois reported on the Exhibit Hall actions, also contributed to the report on the subject and content of this event.

This whole seminar is obviously about how Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs) can perform their jobs, so there were a number of seminars on new technology, and much talk about e-prescribing, social websites usage and telehealth, and utilizing cellular health programs rather than brochures (right! ). It is also possible to navigate through about 60 posters that were on display at the event, showcasing educator-specific research on several different D-management topics.

Many of our fellow D-Advocates from across the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) were there participating in this yearly gathering. Which is a fantastic thing, because the 2015 theme of the 42nd annual conference was Jazz it up with Innovation and Engagement.

The opening keynote speaker, setting the stage for all the talk on technology, involvement and innovation, was health information scientist extraordinaire Susannah Fox, who had been recently appointed Chief Technology Officer for U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS). She walked through the explosion of social media usage in managing our country’s health, the growth of self-tracking, and how to empower individuals to use this information. (See this great recap of the opening session in AADE past president Joan Bardsley).

With this emphasis on the online world (that’s altered the experience of being a patient for a lot of individuals), we could thank new DOC-friendly AADE leaders Deborah Greenwood and Hope Warshaw. What was really exciting to us, besides that, was the new focus this season on type 1 diabetes.

Finally, a T1D Concentrate

Yes, this season for the first time, AADE provided a so-called Form 1 Day made up of a set of evening programs, followed closely by daylong series of six instructional chances — two poster sessions and four presentations (two of those latter happened simultaneously, which created scheduling tough). The afternoon subjects included new type 1 treatment plans, coping with exercise and using information, strategies for eating fermented as well as the impact of type 1 on family members.

“We were being forward-thinking with this program. The future of diabetes control is patient involvement,” says the 2015 AADE Program Chair, CDE Charlotte Hayes in Atlanta, GA, that also appears to be the official CDE for Team Novo Nordisk. .

Type 1 Day

Hayes said the type 1 community is this kind of “informed, wonderful, outspoken and engaged group” that AADE needed to assure their educators are clued-in. “To be able to answer difficult questions, we must keep up with the informed community.”

For sure! However we wondered why it took so long for AADE to add a focus on T1s, especially since our DOC group has been engaged in the seminar over the past several years (I helped run numerous AADE sessions on social media myself).

When asked, Hayes believed for a defeat, shrugged a shoulder and said, “I don’t understand why it wasn’t done before.”

Hmmmm… Neither do we.

Evening T1D Action

The T1 Day “Eve” offers included a case study built around treating a toddler using T1, an Artificial Pancreas briefing, and a session T1 and Eating Disorders, led by the DOC’s own Asha Brown, that knocked it out of the park using an eloquent monologue constituting the thought process behind eating disorders. Normally throughout sessions, there is a reasonable amount of noise generated by the viewer — rustling papers, computer and cell phone noises, whispered conversations, and so on. However, Asha silenced the home.

Wil tells us later on, one of those CDEs approached Asha in the lobby of a local resort to tell her that her presentation was the highlight of the whole conference. We too are huge advocates of the idea that those who experience it are the very best teachers!

(On that subject, Wil also reports seeing a large number of Ominpods on the backs of arms of supporters.)

Also on T1 Day Eve, well-known CDE and writer Gary Scheiner moderated a jam-packed panel session on optimizing CGM (continuous glucose monitor) use.

Gary Scheiner and Susan Weiner

And one of the very lightly attended, yet powerful sessions, CDE of the Year Susan Weiner and super-doc and type 1 himself Jason C. Baker of Marjorie’s Fund discussed the resource-poor, both abroad and here at home.

Gary and Susan had any interesting playing “king and queen” too, bringing some laughs but also acknowledging the star-power these two contribute about the AADE and D-Community overall.

T1 Meat and Potatoes

A bit about the material of this four Form 1 Day conventions:

  • Type 1 Diabetes Management for Exercise and Sport. Founder of Diabetes Training Camp and type 1 himself Matthew Corcoran led this particular session, that clarified “exercise-induced hypoglycemia and its possible impact on following hypoglycemia risk in Addition to exercise performance.”     In addition, he discussed fundamental strategies for hypoglycemia prevention in sport and exercise. While it sounds like a no-brainer, this is still a nebulous area That’s undergoing much research.     (See this AADE article for more detail.)
  • Going Gluten Free: Strategies for Success for Kids with Celiac and Type 1 Diabetes. This was a deep dip into autoimmune disorder and its implications for diabetes care by pediatric diabetes and CDE Colleen Farley-Cornell. Focus was on kids, but as an adult with gluten intolerance, I would’ve loved to grab the part on “creative strategies for eating a gluten free diet away from home.”

Wil reports:

“Polonsky presented some horrifying research regarding the impact of low blood sugar on our so-called Type Awesomes (loved ones) and discussed how this could result in ‘Diabetes Police’ behaviors. He made ideas on how couples could negotiate areas of joint responsibility in diabetes control to lower relationship pressures from diabetes. In addition, he discussed the sleep deprivation problems our nearest and dearest suffer from the arrival of CGMs and their incessant alarms, and he advised us he and D-advocate Kerri Sparling are working together to create a new etiquette card on how to deal with invasive data sharing from Nightscout, Dexcom SHARE and similar apparatus.”

Social Media: Do No Harm

There were a number of different social media-specific presentations this season, with a fantastic amount of “social media 101” blended in for those who aren’t fashionable to Twitter, Facebooking, blogging or the whole DOC spectrum.

President-elect Hope Warshaw teamed up using CDE Melissa Joy Dobbins out of Chicago to host a hands-on and session workshop on using social media in clinical practice. From what we could see trending on the #AADE15 Twitter hashtag discussions online, it turned out to be a well-received demonstration with all the area jam-packed with educators waiting to find out more (and talking about it!) .

Our fellow D-peep Christopher Snider presented some fascinating stats as part of his new gig at as Patient Community Advocate at data analytics firm Symplur, and it had been great to find some notable impact of the weekly #DSMA (Diabetes Social Media Advocacy) chats on Twitter. He’s posted his entire slide presentation online, and sums it up in a site article over at his website, A Consequence of Hypoglycemia.

DSMA Stats

CDE Michelle Litchman (@MichLitch) in Salt Lake City, UT, also presented some fascinating social media research, we hear.

Michelle LitchmanPhoto tweeted by Scott K. Johnson

Our DOC friend Brian Cohen, who is living with type two and is just one of our Patient Voices winners this past season, attended that session and shares those ideas with us here in the ‘Mine:

“Diabetes education is still navigating its way through the wave of change as individuals turn to online communities and tools for knowledge and support. Educators have experienced basic questions regarding whether the DOC aids patients in quantifiable ways and if there are serious risks of harm.”

“In her presentation, Michelle Litchman eventually spread some light on those questions. The decisions of her work imply that participation in the DOC is associated with better glycemic control, self-care behavior and quality of life.

“Litchman further found hardly any reporting of harm, with no serious harm reported and just 2 percent of her respondents reporting ‘minor harm.’ This probably indicates the DOC is a safer environment than a hospital. She further observed that the DOC seemed to fill a basic gap in the present healthcare system, providing advice, emotional support and a sense of belonging and community that is simply not supplied as part of the present system.

“This analysis does have some limitations… and you cannot conclude that the DOC has been the primary cause of all of these positive results; it could simply be that prompted patients hunted from the DOC.

“However, Litchman reasoned that (what they detected among) those participating from the DOC, was that individuals had significantly improved glycemic control, self-care, emotional health and quality of life. She further concluded that involvement in the DOC ought to be considered for all adults with diabetes.”

Getting Real About Kind 2 BG Monitoring

Brian also attended a demonstration by Dr. Dana Brackney in North Carolina, on the comparative advantages having patients with type 2 diabetes usage home glucose meters — that believe it or not is still a contentious issue among health care providers (!)

“There is a huge controversy on if Self-Monitored Blood Glucose (SMBG) is effective and worth the price in diabetes patients that are not using insulin. This demonstration was a breath of fresh air as it explained purposeful SMBG and efforts to measure positive results,” Brian reports.

“While this was a small and small study, hopefully it will kick off more interest in performing studies appearing at SMBG in a way that is truly patient-centered and purposeful.   There are many patients who’ve discovered to ‘Eat to Your Favorite’ with great success.   It’s really too bad that studies of SMBG effectiveness have been deeply flawed although they claim to be ‘intervention’ studies. If you don’t use SMBG in a purposeful way then you don’t really have an intervention,” Brian concludes.

Getting It Home (to the Patients)

At the end of the seminar, the featured keynote speaker was Jeff Arnold, who made the online health platform ShareCare along with Dr. Oz, however, is best called the founder of WebMD.

Jeff Arnold

He spoke about how connected the patient and health care communities have become, thanks to innovative technology and information. However he explained that in the end of the day it boils down to relationships with patients. How the educators engage with people in the Diabetes Community, the future of personalized health care and precision medicine, and overall the way that educators can be the torchbearers when it comes to patient involvement  

He’s written a great recap site about his own AADE experience, but our beloved Tweet that seemed to sum it up absolutely was that: “Ultimate algorithm? Better #relationships is better #health #keynotejeff15#AADE15

Will Type 1 Day Live On?

So will the Form 1 Day be repeated at the AADE seminar of the next year?

That, said AADE occasion planner Hayes, is around the 2016 program committee, that are “overly hard at work” planning for the 2016 occasion in San Diego, CA. Hayes says she expects they will continue to build on the type 1 track, given that there is so much new technologies emerging so fast. “Pumps, CGM, closed loop — all these things occur in T1 very first” and then eventually roll out to type 2s, Hayes points out, therefore AADE ought to keep its eyes on the cutting edge.

We sure repeat that idea on being forward-thinking, AADE. Let’s just Be Sure That educators understand All This innovation isn’t some space-age vision, but the Here and Now of diabetes care in 2015.    

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is made for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog concentrated on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and does not stick to Healthline’s editorial instructions. For more information regarding Healthline’s venture with Diabetes Mine, please click here.

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