New AADE president to focus on changing health landscape in diabetes

The board of directors of the American Association of Diabetes Educators officially installed Karen Kemmis, PT, DPT, MS, CDE, FAADE, as its 2019 president this month, as the organization prepares to launch a new vision that promises better outcomes for people with diabetes.

Karen Kemmis

Kemmis is a physical therapist and certified diabetes educator at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, where she splits her time between the Joslin Diabetes Center affiliate, outpatient rehabilitation department, and as an adjunct professor for the PT program. She brings more than 23 years of experience in diabetes care and has worked with people who have diabetes to reach their goals through a whole-health perspective.

Endocrine Today spoke with Kemmis about what led her to diabetes education, rapidly changing health care models and the biggest challenges facing diabetes educators today.

You have a background in physical therapy and exercise physiology. What led you to become a diabetes educator?

Kemmis: It was purely by chance. I had been a physical therapist for 11 years and worked in orthopedic-based practices. I was getting my master’s degree in exercise science, and the department chair told me a physician was starting a Joslin Diabetes Center affiliate in Syracuse and they wanted to hire someone who was a physical therapist and exercise physiologist. I applied and, at the time, I really knew very little about diabetes. As I went through the interview process, I thought it would be a good learning experience and something I would do for a few years. That was 23 years ago. I love working with people with diabetes. I also teach a course in our PT program on differential diagnosis, so I still get to teach the PT students about diabetes.

As you assume the role of 2019 president, AADE is launching a new vision for the organization . What is that new vision, and how will this change affect people with diabetes?

Kemmis: Health care — and diabetes care — is changing rapidly. During 2017, the board determined that we needed to be proactive to change, not reactive. We hired a consultant and formalized our new vision at the end of 2018. Our vision is to integrate diabetes clinical management, education prevention and support to drive optimal outcomes for people with diabetes. Diabetes care can be disconnected, so we really want to be active in centralizing care. Diabetes care is also underutilized, and we wanted to expand the definition to what we should be doing, including working in cardiometabolic disorders as well as diabetes and working across the full spectrum of prevention. We want to make sure diabetes educators are positioned to deliver services so that people with diabetes have better holistic, collaborative, person-centered care.

The health care environment is changing rapidly. What do diabetes educators need to know to best keep pace, and how can they stay informed?

Kemmis: There are two really key areas that are changing. One is technology. The other is the change from fee-for-service to pay based on performance. The models of care we have been embedded in need to change, and we must allow our members to be ready to adapt to those changes. AADE is really trying to be proactive with respect to communicating and interacting with other organizations that are key in these areas. At our annual meeting in Houston this August, we will offer a track on business models. A big part of that is presentations on different models of care, which will allow our members to see the different opportunities and keep up with the changes.

AADE has championed the use of technology to promote comprehensive care. What are some of the initiatives planned for this year to help further that goal?

Kemmis: The overarching piece is DANA — Diabetes Advanced Network Access — a technology resource for our members that is constantly evolving. It gives our members the opportunity to keep up with all aspects of technology. When we talk about tech, there are two big categories: wearables, such as continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps, and the delivery of diabetes education using telehealth and maximizing or optimizing the use of electronic health records. DANA touches on all of those areas.

We also offer courses and webinars specifically on wearable diabetes devices and other aspects of technology. We are constantly adding to our available webinars and training.

The Diabetes Technology Community of Interest was a very active group, and that was also folded into DANA. With each of these piece, we are hitting all of the key areas.

What in your opinion are some of the biggest challenges facing diabetes educators today, and how can AADE help educators meet those challenges?

Kemmis: My big challenge is that I don’t think stakeholders know what we do. The perception of diabetes education is not what it actually is in practice. If someone has diabetes and they are referred for diabetes education, that person may assume it involves sitting at a desk for a class. That is unappealing. AADE is working to get the word out that that is not what we do. Diabetes education is a collaborative effort with the person with diabetes.

It saddens me when a person leaves the appointment and says, “I’m so glad I came, I thought all you were going to do is tell me to exercise more.” People need a fundamental understanding of what diabetes education is. Our members can help facilitate that understanding, and we need to work with our peer support community, referring providers and our partners in government and at CMS. Diabetes education is not about being told what to eat or when to take your medicine. It’s about meeting your personal goals and getting out of it whatever you need. – by Regina Schaffer

References:

Diabetes Advanced Network Access (DANA). Available at: www.danatech.org. Last accessed: Feb. 15, 2018.

Disclosure: Kemmis reports no relevant financial disclosures.

The board of directors of the American Association of Diabetes Educators officially installed Karen Kemmis, PT, DPT, MS, CDE, FAADE, as its 2019 president this month, as the organization prepares to launch a new vision that promises better outcomes for people with diabetes.

Karen Kemmis

Kemmis is a physical therapist and certified diabetes educator at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, where she splits her time between the Joslin Diabetes Center affiliate, outpatient rehabilitation department, and as an adjunct professor for the PT program. She brings more than 23 years of experience in diabetes care and has worked with people who have diabetes to reach their goals through a whole-health perspective.

Endocrine Today spoke with Kemmis about what led her to diabetes education, rapidly changing health care models and the biggest challenges facing diabetes educators today.

You have a background in physical therapy and exercise physiology. What led you to become a diabetes educator?

Kemmis: It was purely by chance. I had been a physical therapist for 11 years and worked in orthopedic-based practices. I was getting my master’s degree in exercise science, and the department chair told me a physician was starting a Joslin Diabetes Center affiliate in Syracuse and they wanted to hire someone who was a physical therapist and exercise physiologist. I applied and, at the time, I really knew very little about diabetes. As I went through the interview process, I thought it would be a good learning experience and something I would do for a few years. That was 23 years ago. I love working with people with diabetes. I also teach a course in our PT program on differential diagnosis, so I still get to teach the PT students about diabetes.

As you assume the role of 2019 president, AADE is launching a new vision for the organization . What is that new vision, and how will this change affect people with diabetes?

Kemmis: Health care — and diabetes care — is changing rapidly. During 2017, the board determined that we needed to be proactive to change, not reactive. We hired a consultant and formalized our new vision at the end of 2018. Our vision is to integrate diabetes clinical management, education prevention and support to drive optimal outcomes for people with diabetes. Diabetes care can be disconnected, so we really want to be active in centralizing care. Diabetes care is also underutilized, and we wanted to expand the definition to what we should be doing, including working in cardiometabolic disorders as well as diabetes and working across the full spectrum of prevention. We want to make sure diabetes educators are positioned to deliver services so that people with diabetes have better holistic, collaborative, person-centered care.

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The health care environment is changing rapidly. What do diabetes educators need to know to best keep pace, and how can they stay informed?

Kemmis: There are two really key areas that are changing. One is technology. The other is the change from fee-for-service to pay based on performance. The models of care we have been embedded in need to change, and we must allow our members to be ready to adapt to those changes. AADE is really trying to be proactive with respect to communicating and interacting with other organizations that are key in these areas. At our annual meeting in Houston this August, we will offer a track on business models. A big part of that is presentations on different models of care, which will allow our members to see the different opportunities and keep up with the changes.

AADE has championed the use of technology to promote comprehensive care. What are some of the initiatives planned for this year to help further that goal?

Kemmis: The overarching piece is DANA — Diabetes Advanced Network Access — a technology resource for our members that is constantly evolving. It gives our members the opportunity to keep up with all aspects of technology. When we talk about tech, there are two big categories: wearables, such as continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps, and the delivery of diabetes education using telehealth and maximizing or optimizing the use of electronic health records. DANA touches on all of those areas.

We also offer courses and webinars specifically on wearable diabetes devices and other aspects of technology. We are constantly adding to our available webinars and training.

The Diabetes Technology Community of Interest was a very active group, and that was also folded into DANA. With each of these piece, we are hitting all of the key areas.

What in your opinion are some of the biggest challenges facing diabetes educators today, and how can AADE help educators meet those challenges?

Kemmis: My big challenge is that I don’t think stakeholders know what we do. The perception of diabetes education is not what it actually is in practice. If someone has diabetes and they are referred for diabetes education, that person may assume it involves sitting at a desk for a class. That is unappealing. AADE is working to get the word out that that is not what we do. Diabetes education is a collaborative effort with the person with diabetes.

PAGE BREAK

It saddens me when a person leaves the appointment and says, “I’m so glad I came, I thought all you were going to do is tell me to exercise more.” People need a fundamental understanding of what diabetes education is. Our members can help facilitate that understanding, and we need to work with our peer support community, referring providers and our partners in government and at CMS. Diabetes education is not about being told what to eat or when to take your medicine. It’s about meeting your personal goals and getting out of it whatever you need. – by Regina Schaffer

References:

Diabetes Advanced Network Access (DANA). Available at: www.danatech.org. Last accessed: Feb. 15, 2018.

Disclosure: Kemmis reports no relevant financial disclosures.