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Onto The Street Blog

Rethinking Diabetes Education

A Diabetes Advocate With Impact
We often see the term "Diabetes Advocate" used to describe people engaged in the diabetes community. Angella White, MS-DEDM, RN, CDCES is a person who might be more appropriately titled a Diabetes "Impact" Advocate, making a dedicated impact in her work to support everyone touched by diabetes. The drive for helping others to feel empowered while living with the disease is fueled by her experiences on both sides of the diabetes lens. 

Rethinking Diabetes Support With PEEPS
Through Angella's work and family life, she experienced the unmet need for diabetes support within the community. Her "impact" driven mindset led her to create the Peers Educating, Empowering and Providing Support (PEEPS) program, which expands the reach of diabetes support and redefines how everyone touched by diabetes can feel empowered in their role. A diagnosis of diabetes requires a life-long, around the clock commitment to self care which often rests solely on the individual to navigate in isolation. Diabetes management also requires skills, tools and support which are largely an afterthought and inaccessible to many due to cost, time and lack of available, qualified diabetes support professionals. The PEEPS program thoughtfully addresses these current gaps in diabetes support by bringing the necessary tools to spaces in the community where the greatest unmet needs exist. 

We are so fortunate to have Angella as part of our community and to share more about her diabetes journey and forward thinking work in creating the Peers Educating, Empowering and Providing Support (PEEPS) curriculum. Learn more at bemypeeps.org  

Changing Diabetes Outcomes With PEEPS™(Peers Educating, Empowering, and Providing Support)
Angella White, MS-DEDM, RN, CDCES

I grew up with my sister, an elementary school teacher and junior preacher at our local Methodist Church. She has to date, been the most significant influence on my life. She could connect with people regardless of any perceived differences. She was charismatic, kind, and thoughtful, consistently placing the needs of others above her own. She believed that she should only spread joy to others because her joy renewed each morning. The tragic loss of my sister to undiagnosed diabetes changed the course of my life and determined my career path.

Listening As Diabetes Support 
However, while I make decisions for improving access to diabetes education and reducing the burden of persons living with the disorder, the most significant impact is felt from emulating and honoring the memory of a true servant leader. Most admirable, was my sisters ability to listen patiently to others before making any recommendations. 
The desire to serve others means having a genuine interest in the factors that impact them and influence their ability to achieve desired outcomes for health or education. I learned from my sister that you could not detach people from their circumstances and determine the help they should receive. Instead, you must demonstrate care by paying attention to people and sharing their pain and success, making them feel important and special.

How PEEPS Fills Gaps in Diabetes Education
The helplessness I felt at losing my sister to Type 2 diabetes motivated my decision to embark on my career choice as a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. My desire to serve my community and personally impact the inequity in diabetes treatment, prevention, and self-management education led me to develop the PEEPS™ online diabetes education and certification program. PEEPS™ stands for peers educating, empowering, and providing support. Peer educators can fill the gap created by insufficient certified diabetes educators, specifically rural and minority communities.

The PEEPS™ curriculum utilizes internet-based diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) to overcome distance barriers, limited access, and a limited supply of diabetes educators in addressing an overwhelming public health problem. The online syllabus provides an opportunity for increased access to DSMES. Since diabetes requires several lifestyle changes to avoid onset or complications, participants will learn the core concepts of diabetes self-management and support.

In addition to improving well-being, participants can also become certified “PEEPS” Community Peer Counselors, guiding and supporting others along their diabetes path. As a certified peer educator, persons living with diabetes, at risk for the disorder, the family, community, and network around them will acquire the knowledge and tools required to make healthier choices. The PEEPS™ program aims to increase the number of peer educators, improve the network of support for persons living with diabetes, and increase engagement with personal health decision-making.

Join the PEEPS community! Find out more at bemypeeps.org