This blog was written with David Edelman and crossposted AADE
We’re super excited to unveil the new peer support section of the AADE website!
But first let’s take a step back to tell you about the journey to bring together AADE and leaders of the peer support communities (a.k.a. the diabetes online community).
Bit of History
For the past several years AADE has increasingly recognized the role that peer support and peer support communities (PSC) play in helping people touched by diabetes. AADE has sent leaders to key meetings and invited PSC members and entities to our annual conference, and more.
Then we reached a major milestone. In October 2017 under the leadership of 2017 AADE President Nancy D’Hondt, AADE convened a meeting in Chicago to formalize this collaboration. The participants included about 25 individuals, half from PSC and half AADE leaders, members and staff. The meeting was called “Working Together for the Good of People with Diabetes.” Read the meeting report.
We also encourage you to read an in-depth meeting recap on DiabetesMine by Amy Tenderich, a PSC attendee. In this blog, Amy’s well-crafted description of PSC is one to keep in mind: "The DOC" is totally decentralized. It's a freewheeling place including any number of individuals and groups doing their own thing in the diabetes space.”
The Why for Peer Support
As diabetes educators know, people with diabetes at best get, relatively speaking, nearly nil collective face time with healthcare providers in a given year. We know very well that diabetes is a self-care and management disease and much of the burden of care is on the person and caregivers.
Enter Peer Support Communities. Facilitated by the global reach of the internet, interactions between people with diabetes and their caregivers have exploded. The last decade has seen a blossoming of opportunities for people to “find their tribe.” It’s helped many people feel less isolated. It’s allowed people day or night (because it’s always daytime somewhere around the globe!) to reach out for practical guidance, emotional support, and to share victories and move through setbacks.
Your Role in Supporting Peer Support
In spite of the benefits mentioned above, the reality is that most people with diabetes and their caregivers are not engaged in and benefiting from peer support and PSC. This is especially true among the vast population of people with type 2 and prediabetes.
AADE wants to help change this and we believe our members can make a difference!
We want you to help more people benefit from peer support and PSC and this new portal on AADE’s website makes it easier. (Likewise, PSC members at the October meeting have committed sharing the value of diabetes educators and diabetes education.)
When you peek into AADE’s peer support portal (DiabetesEducator.org/PeerSupport) today you’ll find a newly revised resource/handout titled: Learn-Connect-Engage with Diabetes Peer Support Communities. At this link you’ll see it’s also available as a color and black and white PDF. Note, this is not copyrighted. We want you to use and distribute this far and wide to get the word out about the value of peer support and PSCs. Other resources on the page include an easy to understand video on peer support by Susannah Fox and additional supporting resources on the benefits of peer support. We also encourage you and your patients to share your experience with peer support. You can email a short summary to firstname.lastname@example.org or even tweet it using #PeerHealthAdvice.
Over time we’ll add resources. For example, AADE is working with a researcher to conduct a scoping review of the evidence for online peer support. AADE has plans to publish a Practice Paper on peer support.
Donna Ryan, AADE’s 2018 president, has made sure to put the value and importance of peer support front and center at #AADE18 at the general session on Monday. A concurrent session on Sunday will feature the topic of peer support and will feature a panel of PSC and AADE leaders.
It’s been our honor and privilege to serve as co-conveners of the 2017 AADE-PSC gathering. We’re pleased to continue to co-lead this effort during 2018. Our greatest hope is that you carry the message of the value of peer support and PSC to as many people with diabetes and prediabetes you can!
Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, BC-ADM, FAADE
AADE Past President (2016)
Owner, Hope Warshaw Associates, LLC
Co-Founder & CEO