For Students and Young Adults with Diabetes…

The yearly  Pupils With Diabetes summit  begins today (May 22), bringing nearly 200 young adults into Tampa, Florida, in which they could share about their D-lives at that age.

Nicole Johnson

Being declared at this year’s conference: SWD is growing beyond just the “college-age,” to include a sister program for young adults with diabetes. Both will be placed under the newly-formed non-profit Diabetes Empowerment Foundation.

It was a longtime vision.

“The purpose all along was to maneuver these kind of diabetes apps outward, so that they can expand. And today that’s what we’re doing together with the Diabetes Empowerment Foundation since the umbrella thing,” Nicole told us with pride, just a couple of days before the SWD summit kicked off.

Thus far, SWD was a part of this wider Bringing Science Home program placed in the University of South Florida (USF) since mid-2010. Nicole has served as director of Bringing Science Home, and that.   But that program is, and was never intended to be the long-term thing running Pupils With Diabetes. Actually, withdrawing Science Home was actually set up as a study pilot beneath the generous support of this Patterson Foundation, but not designed to move beyond that into real-life, peer support applications.

“That is based on grants, so it runs up through a couple of years and that’s the end,” Nicole says. “That is a big concern in the diabetes study world overall, and it actually restricts what we could plan long-term”

SWD began by focusing on students, since Nicole worked at USF inside that school community. During the years, the focus has expanded to the more prevalent “young adults with diabetes” population, and a lot of the work today stretches beyond just students. The time to grow had arrived.

Diabetes Empowerment Foundation

Nicole’s spouse of SWD, John Swanson, helped launch this new private non-profit foundation and he will serve as executive manager. Nicole is going to function as board chairman.

As they develop, you can find the newest org online already on Facebook and on Twitter.

“With this, I would like to incubate apps and migrate them to be beneath the Foundation,” she explained.

We wondered why Pupils With Diabetes doesn’t work more with comparable groups like the College Diabetes Network, which appears to overlap in a lot of ways. With CDN teaming up with the American Diabetes Association recently to serve young adults, and with Nicole’s involvement in the federal level with JDRF at which many of her SWD peeps work as interns, it appears they all fit together nicely. Same is true for other groups like Kids With Diabetes that’s expanded in recent years to add more young adult and adult PWDs, and the JDRF and ADA have both worked to add more segments of the D-Community in what they do.

Nicole tells us that DEF does not plan to restrict the audience it functions, but rather serves a need for all life stages.

“We want to check out each period of life, to tackle all those changes you see in the time you’re heading into school until whenever you’re entering that young adulthood and even parenthood and beyond… There are a great deal of great apps and associations on the market, but it doesn’t appear that anybody’s doing that for each period of life.”

Being declared with this new Foundation possession is the Young Adults With Diabetes, a sister program to SWD which will expand the support for people who are finished with student life, largely post-college twenty and thirtysomethings.

When there aren’t straightforward age bounds, Nicole sees both apps will really encompass the 18 to 40 age range.

DEF Programs

“You immediately realize when performing all of this, that it is not just people in school who need support,” she explained. “With this Young Adults With Diabetes sister app, there’ll be two distinct choices and people can choose what’s ideal for them”

Perhaps that’s diabetes life as it pertains to academic issues, internships, setting up social lives and finding a profession. But with the newest YAWD app, there’ll also be other focuses like office improvement, mentoring, residing on your own, finding a community as well as starting a family.

Nicole tells us particular programs offered will include: Only for Partners (of type 1 PWDs), Diabetes Parents (for adolescents using T1D), and even later this season one for type 1 women who are entering or wish to enter motherhood.

New websites are being set up for both businesses, and will soon go live at:

“We are using a paintbrush to swipe over those older adult years of life, once you’re moving from school to relationships and life beyond college,” Nicole stated. “And we will have the support set up for people who are with you for that travel, whether it’s parents or friends. Perhaps later on we will address getting older with diabetes… not sure I am prepared for that one yet! We want to look at each stage of life and offer support.”  

SWD Conference, Moving Powerful

Rest assured, Pupils With Diabetes isn’t going anywhere and it won’t change much.   All of this expansion is really icing on the cake, adding into the already-strong SWD app that exists today, for example,  yearly conference that runs today through Sunday.


Nicole is amazed at just how far the summit has come, with nearly 200 anticipated this season — when compared with the 20 people she was “attempting to cobble together to attend” five years ago!

This year’s there’s an all-purpose lineup, including D-peep Crystal Bowersox, a country singer who was a finalist on American Idol; fellow type 1 Kyle Cochran who was on two seasons of American Ninja Warrior; and D-Dad Dr. Ed Damiano who will be showing his latest work on the exciting Bionic Pancreas system.

Nicole also tells us that the wider Diabetes Community can engage with what’s occurring at the SWD conference through a fairly cool interactive campaign: conference attendees will be able to assist Crystal Bowersox write tune centered on the difficulties of living with diabetes, using humor to create the expression. All of that will be online Saturday, also including a fundraising aspect in which Crystal will sing the tune, and each LIKE will activate a buck going to scholarships for the next season’s SWD conference.

On Sunday, Kyle will perform a “warrior training” with people attending, focused on anxieties and responses and figuring out how to become a leader and utilize your strengths. There will be community involvement aspect of the occurring on Twitter, also.

So be sure to tune into this year’s SWD conference online, utilizing the #SWD2015 hashtag on Twitter and following @Stdntswdiabetes.

Congrats on the news, Nicole! We can’t wait to hear how the conference goes, and we’ll be watching for more app tidbits later in the year.

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


This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn’t adhere to Healthline’s editorial guidelines. To learn more regarding Healthline’s venture with Diabetes Mine, please click here.

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