July 15, 2016

AADE Aims for Diversity Across All Areas

I want to share with you my July 2016 AADE President's Letter:

With my goal to familiarize you with the six key strategies and outcomes in AADE’s 2016-2018 Strategic Plan, this letter focuses on the strategy: Address the need for diversity in our membership, products and services. The outcome AADE seeks to achieve on this strategy is to have a broad array of resources and products that reflect and serve the wide diversity of our membership and the people we care for. Our definition of “diversity” spans multiple generations, an array of ethnicities, cultures and social strata. It also includes numerous disabilities, particularly those with a high prevalence among people with diabetes. 

I’m proud of our association’s vision of diversity. I’m also proud of the Change Champions engaged in efforts that exemplify this strategy. 

This broad definition will become increasingly important in the delivery of diabetes care and education. People are developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes at a younger age and are living longer. We’ll need to learn and apply varied teaching techniques and technologies to engage and empower individuals in their care from the span of Generation Z, to millennials, baby boomers and members of the greatest generation. 

Prediabetes and diabetes disproportionally affects American Indians/Alaskan Natives, Hispanic Americans, African Americans and Asian Americans.1 Research demonstrates that low  socioeconomic status is associated with a higher prevalence of diabetes and that food insecurity predisposes these individuals to poor diabetes control and a higher incidence of complications.2 Even with the many improvements in diabetes care, too many individuals will experience the physical disabilities and mental health challenges of diabetes. 

Due to these and other societal changes, AADE staff and the organization as a whole must be forward thinking to optimally serve our members and other constituencies in the future. Here’s a glimpse of how several of AADE’s senior staff directors are aligning their plans with AADE’s Strategic Plan. 

Membership: Nadine Merker, Director, Member and Volunteer Engagement 

“AADE is engaged in an initiative to explore new membership models. Changes in today’s world have shifted how associations approach membership. The very meaning of membership in professional associations is changing. This initiative includes a thorough analysis of current member engagement, workforce and professional trends and membership model trends. We’ll make recommendations for model options that position AADE for membership growth, strengthen retention and open new member markets.” 

Products: Ken Zielske, Director of Learning 

“The three-year AADE education plan will create products to address all levels of the AADE practice domains and competencies. AADE Practice Domain 2 is Cultural Competency across the Lifespan. We promote diversity through our content and make products widely accessible. We want to provide a continuous educational path for members to grow their skills. Recent products that support diversity skills are webinars on literacy, mental health, vision, healthcare transitions and publication of the AADE Diabetes Education Curriculum.” 

Services: Gregg Lapin, Director of Meeting Services

“The AADE Annual Meeting can no longer simply be a place to reconnect with colleagues. We’re transforming the meeting into a forum for cutting-edge education, exposure to the newest medications, technologies and devices and presentations by key opinion leaders. We’re implementing continuous quality improve initiatives to maximize the entire educational and networking experience. Last year we introduced a focused type 1 day and significantly lowered the registration fee. This year we’ll add a focused prediabetes day and shift the meeting days to over the weekend.” (Register to attend at: AADE16.org)   

With our dedicated members and staff all working together we’ll address AADE’s wide range of needs for diversity in membership, products and services. I encourage you to find ways to support AADE’s efforts to help us achieve this strategic goal.  


1. CDC. National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014. http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/statsreport14/national-diabetes-report-web.pdf 

2. Seligman HK, et al. Food Insecurity and Glycemic Control Among Low-Income Patients With Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2012;35:233-238.