The University of Arizona

UMC Diabetes Care for a Lifetime Program Nationally Recognized

January 20, 2000

by Vicki B. Gaubeca
AHSC Public Affairs

University Medical Center's Diabetes Care for a Lifetime Program recently was awarded the American Diabetes Association Education Recognition Certificate.

"UMC plans to continue increasing diabetes-related efforts as part of the Diabetes Care for a Lifetime Program. This certification is an important step in this direction," says Greg Pivirotto, UMC president and CEO. "The staff that are part of this program are a tremendous group of individuals."

Unlike other diabetes programs in Tucson, UMC's Diabetes Care for a Lifetime addresses all aspects of diabetes self-management by offering patients the combined expertise of a nutritionist, a nurse practitioner, a pharmacist, an exercise specialist, a counselor, and a bilingual educator. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are managed in this program.

"We are extremely proud of this quality designation for our program. ADA recognition is the product of years of hard work within our department," says Betsy Dokken, program coordinator. "Our sessions on diabetes self-management are delivered by an interdisciplinary team that offers one of the most comprehensive educational programs in Tucson."

Educational programs are crucial for people at risk for developing diabetes and for those who already have the disease. The results of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Sept. 30, 1993, proved beyond a doubt that tighter control means complications related to diabetes can be avoided and, in some cases, reversed. By teaching patients to better control blood sugar levels, complications such as blindness, kidney damage, nerve damage, and lower-limb amputations can be prevented.

Established in the early 1980s, this certification program by the American Diabetes Association assures that UMC's diabetes education programs meet the National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Education Programs. These standards include an assessment of staff qualifications and ability to provide comprehensive, individualized, and state-of-the-art information about diabetes management.

Only one other program in southern Arizona has met these rigorous standards.