Hey Diabetes Community! Back-to-School time is right around the corner once again, but don't worry -- the College Diabetes Network has your back!
Not quite a decade old, this Boston-based organization has been growing by leaps and bounds, and very recently began ramping up its roster of resources available to families and young adults heading off to college. Going into the 2017-18 school year, they now have 110 affiliated chapters scattered across the United States (up from 75 the previous year), and 40 more in the start-up phase. You could say CDN has become a tour de force supporting those entering college for the first time or returning to continue their higher education.
Notably, CDN Founder Christina Roth and Program Director Emily Ike were invited to present at this summer's annual meeting of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (#AADE17) on "Empowering Young Adults with Diabetes into Independence: Resources for off to College and Beyond." So great to get diabetes educators on board!
Here's a look at some of the latest resources CDN now has to offer, not to mention the future "Newly Diagnosed" and "Off to Work" programs being launched over the next several months (more info to come on those soon).
New Campus Toolkits
CDN has just launched a pilot program that it's rolling out at 15 to 25 college campuses this month, aimed this time at on-campus departments, so they can be better informed.
The CDN's new "College Toolkit" offers resources designed specifically for school officials within the Health Services, Disability Services, and Counseling Services departments -- to bring these campus departments together for improved support of their students with diabetes and to help ensure their success during the college years.
What's in these new toolkits?
The initial 15-25 campuses will help CDN gauge the effectiveness of this program between August 2017 and May 2018, before launching it's launched more broadly to chapters around the country. The participating campuses will keep in touch with the organization during the pilot program to provide feedback, questions and concerns.
These look like great D-resources being channeled to the right college departments where they're needed, and we're happy to see CDN reaching out to administrators and educators in this way. More info on signing up for this pilot program, and these campus toolkits, can be found on the CDN website.
Booklets for College Students + Parents
Earlier this year, CDN also launched a pair of new booklets aimed directly at students with diabetes and their parents. Each is just 36 pages long, yet includes a whole variety of chapters dealing with very simple to more complex issues that college students with diabetes might face -- from talking to roommates about health issues, dealing with new college routines and stresses, checking in with parents, and overall D-management that includes crazy schedules, potential alcohol drinking, and so much more.
These are available online and are also being sent directly to clinics and JDRF chapters, along with support from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) as well as the diabetes industry; Dexcom, Lilly, Novo, Sanofi, and Tandem are all helping to get these booklets into the hands of parents and students who might need them.
We looked these booklets ourselves, and found them chock-full of useful tips, tricks and insights -- from checklists on moving into the dorms that include handy tricks like making sure to have a small flashlight or lamp near the bed for night-time BG checks or low-treatments to creating "sick day kits" for everything might be needed if illness strikes. There's even great info in there about D-tech on campus, finding new healthcare teams, and navigating insurance and access issues. And yes, even interesting conversation-starters with friends on campus about diabetes, or how exactly to interact with parents during these college years when schedules and priorities might not always be aligned.
I'll echo what I've said before about all of these CDN resources and programs: I wish I'd had them during my college years in the late 90s and early 2000s. While I certainly wasn't interested in wearing diabetes on my sleeve as openly as I do nowadays, having these tools might have helped bring a sense of balance to my college world and even helped prevent some of the worst struggles I faced in my 4.5 years of university.
Thanks to CDN for all it continues to do!
We'd love to hear from those in the Diabetes Community who might have any thoughts on the college years from their own personal experiences... Have you used any CDN tools, or do how you think these types of resources might have helped you back in your own college days?