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July Partner Spotlight

NDEP Partner Elizabeth Venditti, Ph.D. Relies on NDEP Resources to Support Lifestyle Change

Partner Spotlight: NDEP Partner Elizabeth Venditti, Ph.D. Relies on NDEP Resources to Support Lifestyle Change For the University of Pittsburgh’s Elizabeth Venditti, Ph.D. the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) has become an integral component of her work to help people change their lifestyles and manage their diabetes.

A clinical health psychologist, Venditti found her way to a career largely focused on diabetes prevention through her early work and research in obesity back in the mid-1990s with Rena Wing, PhD.

“I was always very interested not only in the idea of managing a disease that could cause problems, but doing so in a way that helps people feel good,” Venditti said. “I think that’s what has kept me in the field: what I’m really interested in is helping people not feel futile about having an impact on their lives—both physical and mental.”

And that’s where the work of the NDEP enters in.

About Elizabeth Venditti
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh (since 2010)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh (since 2005)
  • Principal Investigator, Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS), University of Pittsburgh (2002-2015)
  • Faculty, Diabetes Prevention Support Center, University of Pittsburgh (since 2005)
  • NDEP partner since 2002

“I was on the first committee to take the DPP and say, ‘How do we communicate this to a primary care physician?’” Venditti explained. She referred to the Diabetes Prevention Program—the landmark study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health—that found people at increased risk for type 2 diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of the disease by losing 5 percent to 7 percent of their body weight through increased physical activity and a reduced-fat and lower-calorie diet. It was this research that led to the Small Steps. Big Rewards. Prevent Type 2 Diabetes. campaign, which Venditti cited as a prime example of how the NDEP applies research in a way that can help people make changes in their lifestyles and health. That’s especially useful today, as providers and payers emphasize evidence-based care to improve quality, enhance outcomes and lower costs.

“What NDEP does so well is taking these evidence-based interventions—whether it be in diabetes education or in behavior change—and putting them in materials, toolkits and one-pagers, and making them widely accessible to patients, providers and families,” Venditti said. As one example, she said the NDEP’s It’s Not Too Late to Prevent Diabetes resource is ideal for older adults (a focus of her current research) in the pre-diabetes phase because it provides a practical program they can follow—and see real results.

“Even if you have a really terrific drug that helps you keep your glucose in control, you really need to mind your lifestyle,” Venditti said. “Depending on how challenged you are—in terms of your work, family, social or economic stress—I think often one’s lifestyle takes a backburner,” she added. “We try to help people find manageable ways to make their lifestyle central.”


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May Partner Spotlight

NDEP Resource Set to Hit ‘70s Song Helps Novant Health Educate Older Adults about Diabetes

Partner Spotlight: NDEP Resource Set to Hit ‘70s Song Helps Novant Health Educate Older Adults about Diabetes Multiple Grammy winner Paul Simon might be surprised to learn one of his biggest solo hits influenced a diabetes presentation in North Carolina nearly four decades later after he released it.

That’s what happened when Marcy Shipwash, a registered nurse and wellness and disease navigator at Novant Health’s Thomasville (N.C.) Medical Center, used the song “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” as the backdrop for her diabetes prevention presentation featuring the National Diabetes Education Program’s (NDEP) Choose More Than 50 Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes. Partner Spotlight: NDEP Resource Set to Hit ‘70s Song Helps Novant Health Educate Older Adults about Diabetes

Set to the strains of Simon’s late 1975 hit, Shipwash’s presentation—specifically for older adults—highlighted a range of topics, such as how to learn your risk for type 2 diabetes, ways to stay active, and tips about healthy foods and portion control.

“The participants loved the presentation” Shipwash said, adding that attendees tapped their toes and sung along as she presented. “It was helpful that the tip sheet is based on a song they already know. It made the information easier for them to remember.”

That’s especially important, given that 1 out of every 4 people over the age of 65 in the United States has diabetes. To help this population learn more about the disease, the NDEP’s Diabetes Resources for Older Adults web page offers older Americans—as well as caregivers and health care professionals of older adults—information that can help older adults learn how to manage their diabetes and take steps to prevent type 2 diabetes.

To learn more about the Novant Health Thomasville (N.C) Medical Center, or Shipwash’s presentation, please contact her directly at mlshipwash@novanthealth.org.


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March Partner Spotlight

Past NDEP Chair Marti Funnell Highlights the Emotional Aspects of Diabetes.

Partner Spotlight: ADRC of Waukesha CountyAs a trained diabetes educator and nurse, Marti Funnell understood the importance of patient-centered care long before it became a catch phrase in the era of health care reform.

Funnell, a national leader in diabetes education, was the first non-physician to serve as National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) Chair from 2008 until 2011, and she has worked as an associate research scientist at the University of Michigan Medical School’s Department of Learning Health Sciences since 2012. Her range of experience in both research and practice—which includes working as a staff nurse at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. early in her career—prepared her for what excites her most in her profession today: a greater focus on patient-centered care and the emotional side of diabetes.

As she explained, the NDEP spent many years developing and promoting messages on what patients should do, but that was not enough to help people change their lifestyles and improve their health.

Partner Spotlight: ADRC of Waukesha County“We gave a lot of messages that you need to exercise and eat better, but everybody kind of knows that,” Funnell said. What the NDEP had not done, she continued, was explain exactly how people can also make those lifestyle changes. “You don’t just change behavior based on knowledge. You have to understand the ‘why,’ and it’s also helping people figure out the ‘how.’”

Enter Diabetes HealthSense, the NDEP’s online library of resources for patients and health care professionals to help people with diabetes live well, meet their goals, and improve their health. According to Funnell, Diabetes HealthSense has been instrumental in the effort to assist patients in managing their diabetes.

“It goes beyond tips. It’s helping people put it all together,” she said of the NDEP’s purpose and mission. “We came to recognition that we needed to focus on helping patients change behavior, and Diabetes HealthSense was a big part of that effort.” Funnell considers this work—and the effects it has had on patients—as one of the NDEP’s important accomplishments to date.

And it is this effort that connects so well with what Funnell calls the “emotional side” of diabetes. That aspect is an additional factor that all patients, as well as their families, must live with and must manage each day.

“There’s this underlying sense that this is a tough disease to live with, so helping people address that component affects their behavior and metabolic outcomes,” Funnell said. The starting point for that conversation, she explained, is to help patients assess the hardest aspect of diabetes is for them, rather than launch into a spiel on diabetes.

Looking ahead, Funnell said she hopes both patients and health care professionals know about the valuable resources the NDEP has to offer.

“We have done a really good job,” she said, “creating materials that fit in the world of diabetes today.”


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February Partner Spotlight

NDEP Materials Featured in the ADRC of Waukesha County Diabetes Management Workshops.

Partner Spotlight: ADRC of Waukesha County

Outreach and Promotions

In Waukesha County, Wisc., the NDEP has proven to be a useful source of content for the Healthy Living with Diabetes workshops that the Aging and Disability Center (ADRC) of Waukesha County offers area residents.

The six-week workshops, written and designed by Stanford University and implemented by the Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging, are funded through the Older Americans Act, and pair participants with volunteer trainers who offer instruction on diabetes self-management. NDEP’s content and resources play an essential role in the development process.

Partner Spotlight: ADRC of Waukesha County“I gather different resources from the NDEP website and love including them in the workshops,” says Lee Clay, Health Education Coordinator at the ADRC of Waukesha County. “Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers fits in perfectly when explaining how people with diabetes should maintain a log of their blood glucose numbers and know the range the numbers should be in,” she added.

Other NDEP resources featured in the workshops include 4 Steps to Manage Your Diabetes for Life, Taking Care of Your Diabetes Means Taking Care of Your Heart, and the Take Care of Your Feet for a Lifetime booklet. The “Managing Diabetes, It’s Not Easy but it’s Worth It” posters also make an appearance at all of the trainings. “It helps reinforce the work the participants are doing to make lifestyle changes to have healthier lives,” Clay says. “They couldn’t be doing more important work.”

For more information about the Aging and Disability Resource Center in Waukesha Wisconsin, please contact Lee Clay at LClay@waukeshacounty.gov.


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NDEP Thanks Partners for a Successful 2014!

The NDEP thanks its partners for their hard work in using NDEP resources and educating Americans about diabetes management and prevention.

For nearly two decades, the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) has worked to raise awareness about diabetes and reduce the burden of this chronic disease in the United States. The program’s success is due in large part to NDEP’s work with more than 200 partners, which include state and local health departments, professional health care societies, community-based organizations, business leaders and key federal agencies.

2014 was a significant year for the NDEP, as the federally funded program kicked off an ambitious five-year Strategic Plan that applies a three-pronged strategy to help reduce the burden of diabetes nationwide through behavior change, within clinical settings, and throughout the community.

The NDEP appreciates the hard work of its partners, who have helped the program execute the Strategic Plan in several ways in the last year. Fulfilling the Strategic Plan’s first strategy—to promote model practice/community programs that facilitate prevention and self-management of diabetes—the NDEP worked with its partner, the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), to explore how diabetes educators can use NDEP’s Diabetes HealthSense in their practices.

Focused on the Strategic Plan’s second strategy of promoting models for team care in the clinical setting, the NDEP worked with the American College of Physicians to support ACPs use of the NDEP’s Practice Transformation resource in the “ACP Quality Champion: Diabetes” training-for-transformation-leadership symposium. The NDEP’s work with several supporting health care organizations led to the release of Guiding Principles for the Care of People With or at Risk for Diabetes, a set of 10 clinically useful best practices in diabetes management and prevention.

At the community level—where the third strategy of the Strategic Plan calls for an increase in the adoption of NDEP tools and resources—the Diabetes Community Action Coalition of Fulton County used NDEP’s Choose More than 50 Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes to create a workshop about preventing diabetes. Several partners used NDEP resources such as the Road to Health toolkit in their communities and helped build awareness about National Diabetes Prevention Programs in their states. Also during the year, the NDEP relied on its strong partner network to pretest materials that were revised for plain language principles.

Thank you to all of NDEP’s partners for applying NDEP’s resources and serving as strong examples to other organizations that are committed to reducing the burden of diabetes across America!

Please visit NDEP’s Partner Spotlight page to learn about the innovative and effective work of NDEP partners throughout 2014.


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