March 23, 2013

AADE – Is It Heading In the Right Direction?

According to Tami Ross, the current president of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), writing a comment to a recent blog in Diabetes Mine - “Second, contrary to the assertions raised, membership in AADE is not shrinking. In fact, membership has grown by more than 20 percent in the past 4 years.” If this is true then the membership numbers should have changed in the last four years, but unless there is a lot of secrecy behind this, their information published first on their home page and now in their fact sheet shows they have not had a membership increase in at least the last three years. The AADE Fact Sheet states, “With more than 13,000 members, AADE advocates on behalf of diabetes educators and the patients they serve.” To see this you need to download it with a PDF compatible reader and currently is the first item under the tab ABOUT US.

A 20% increase should have meant they had a membership increase by at least 2,600 new members. In any calculation, this means 13,000 plus 2,600 equals 15,600 members. This means somewhere in their calculations, growth has been stagnant, or the numbers had been inflated in the past. Why would they claim a 20% growth and not reflect this in their own membership numbers?

Then Tami Ross states, “First, to be clear, as it appears there may be misunderstanding on Diabetes Mine’s part, AADE is not a patient advocacy organization. As AADE’s name reflects, we are a professional membership organization for diabetes educators – an organization whose objective and mission is to support the needs of diabetes educators.” Their own fact sheet must be in need of revision then as in the above italicized statement in the last sentence of the first paragraph clearly states the “AADE advocates on behalf of diabetes educators and the patients they serve.” If we are to believe Ms. Ross then the only patients they serve are those that are educators. Sorry Ms. Ross, you can't have it both ways. Please correct your site's Fact Sheet if you do not agree.

This would also explain why the AADE has published nothing about the National Standards that they worked on with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) – the officers of the AADE know they can't live up to them. I have stated this before and I have even more reason to believe this now – Those at the headquarters (ivory towers) are not aware of what is happening in the trenches where mantras, mandates, and platitudes are the rule of the way business is accomplished. I have met certified diabetes educators that do not know what the word assessment means, except that they teach to the lowest common denominator and teach very little.

The AADE Fact Sheet also includes this statement, “Our mission is to drive practice to promote healthy living through self-management of diabetes and related chronic conditions.” From experience, I cannot agree, as I have found very little self-management of diabetes taught. I have experienced only mandates and mantras. Fortunately, I was able to use the internet and discern for myself how to self-manage my diabetes. And being on insulin as a person with type 2 diabetes, I was fortunate that the diabetes clinic became available to me and has an endocrinologist and nurse practitioners on staff.

The nurse practitioner that I was seeing confirmed my own self-education and kept encouraging me to learn. As a result, I have not needed to listen to any additional mantras and mandates from certified diabetes educators.

If professional organizations wish to have strictly internal documents, so be it. Then they need to become thick skinned when slammed for what they do make public. We need transparency, not whining when they are criticized for something that is public. We do realize that most professional organizations are for the preservation of the profession and not directed at the patients. But when whining and complaining become the way of doing business, we must wonder if the organization is worth the money.

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