February 2, 2014

A New CDE Organization – Good or Bad?

A new CDE organization announcing its formation raises all types of issues and makes one wonder what is happening. I'll admit I was perplexed when I read the blog on Diabetes Mine on January 30. I do think changes need to be made in the American Association of Diabetes Educators. However, I question a new organization which will take a few years of get firmly established and provide the services needed to keep up with the epidemic of new diabetes cases.

The new organization is named the Academy of Certified Diabetes Educators (ACDE) and it officially announced its coming on January 1, 2014. Whether this means more or less actual workers to help those of us with diabetes – this is the question to be answered over the next several years. And, will they be better trained, more empathetic, or will there be just more of the same old mantras, mandates, and dogma we have had to deal with from members of the AADE.

There are several issues that need to be put on the table for discussion. The first issue is what prompted my ire in the beginning. The leaders of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) sat in their ivory towers and lost track of what the educators in the field were doing. As a result, more doctors were disappointed and unhappy with the education not being done.

The second issue is what will one CDE organization do to combat the effects of the other organization. We don't need the tactics employed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics where they have pushed licensure through some state legislatures to make them the only organization able to preach faulty nutrition. Then in some states they have been successful to criminalizing other nutrition professionals. With the shortage of certified diabetes educators, we as patients don't need this happening.

The third issue is conflicts of interest. The ACDE is too young to have conflicts of interest (COI) yet, but the AADE does have COIs. We don't need either organization having these and making their education less effective and transparent.

The last issue is peer mentors and peer workers. The new ACDE organization is promoting only members that have passed the test administered by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE). If they are intending to be so exclusive in their education that they limit new members, then they may not meet the needs of people with diabetes.

I like the statement Mike Hoskins ended his blog with and I will quote it, “Whatever the focus, hopefully one thing is clear to anyone working in this field, whether you’re “certified” or part of this or that organization: the key is to do less talking, and more listening to the real-world concerns of patients. In the end, you can have all the certification and titles in the world, but if you’re not effectively connecting with us PWDs, then all is lost.”

I would also encourage you to read the comment by Sheryl Traficano, CEO of NCBDE, about the qualifications to set for the test. These are almost impossible for lay people to achieve even if they have the education in related fields.

I am just thankful that more doctors are realizing they don't have the time for the necessary education and are working with peer mentors and peer workers to fill the gap left unfilled by CDEs. This is important in many rural areas. Thank goodness telemedicine is also coming of age and being accepted.

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