Diabetes expertise, to a degree

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09/21/2010

I remember a thread on a diabetes listserv not too terribly long ago in which many of the posters (most with Type 1 diabetes) wondered if there would ever be a more, shall we say, relaxed, process for getting certified as diabetes educators (after all, we all kind of considered ourselves experts to a degree).

Cut to today and a release from  Teachers College, Columbia University, about a new masters program for diabetes educators—the first of its kind. The degree seeks not only to train CDEs but to make CDEs "more professional." Although last I checked, CDEs currently have to have a master's degree in another, related, discipline such as nutrition or public health or be a licensed health professional like a nurse or pharmacist, before they can enroll in the CDE program which requires, among other things, 1,000 hours of clinical time.

So apparently, there is a shift in the opposite direction, toward more education, more background, more experience. I am curious as to how this online course will teach students to work with patients (we can be a stubborn bunch), but I haven't read the curriculum.

I did like that it will also focus on training students to be patient advocates for public health policies, including Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement. That's enough to keep anyone busy.

Theresa Flaherty

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