Resource for journalists reporting on diabetes and its impact

Image: Sally GerardDiabetes has gained an increasing amount of attention in recent years for two important reasons: One is the frightening increase in Americans diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes mellitus, and the second reason is the costs of caring for those with diabetes, according to Sally O. Gerard, DNP, CDE, RN, associate professor of nursing at Fairfield University's School of Nursing, a certified diabetes educator who maintains a clinical practice as a diabetes educator at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut. "Recent statistics from the American Diabetes Association have the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes around 10% of Americans," said Dr. Gerard. "There have also been alarming increases in the onset of diabetes for Americans under 20 years old. Direct and indirect costs care for those with diabetes was estimated at $245 billion dollars for 2012."

For perspectives on this important issue, please consider as a resource Dr. Gerard, who specializes in diabetes and whose research focuses on diabetes and improvement of patient related outcomes. Extensively published, she is currently involved in a national partnership of healthcare improvement practices with The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Dr. Gerard has taken part in a number of academic collaborations with Connecticut hospitals to introduce evidence-based practice and improve quality care.

"Positive outcomes can be achieved for individuals who understand the many components of diabetes self-care," said Dr. Gerard. "It is a complex disease, which requires understanding of nutrition, medications, blood glucose testing, exercise and prevention of complications and balance of life's stressors. Nurses encounter people with diabetes in all aspects of their profession such as public health, primary care, home care, acute care and optimally, prior to a diagnosis, for prevention. To properly support and educate those with diabetes nurses' must possess accurate knowledge of a rapidly changing field. Student nurses entering practice will quickly become outdated in their factual knowledge unless they possess the greater lesson of becoming a "life-long learner." As nurses, they must challenge themselves to stay current, open to new ideas, sensitive to the circumstances of each individual and mindful of the challenges of living with a chronic illness. In a very turbulent time in our nation's healthcare delivery, some facts are evident; diabetes will play a large role in the future of Americans and nurses, as the largest healthcare workforce, will impact those citizens. It is critical that America have a well-educated nursing workforce who can support prevention and control of diabetes."

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726,

Posted on August 11, 2014

Vol. 46, No.

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