This article originally appeared in the November 2014 edition of PA Professional magazine.
As we begin American Diabetes Month, 29.1 million Americans are living with the disease. Of those, 1 out of 4 doesn’t realize they have this devastating condition.
For years, we have known that two-thirds of diabetics are going to die of heart disease. Therefore, it is critical that we discuss every risk factor with every patient at every visit, and it’s crucial that we help all of our patients receive proper diabetes management.
Last year, AAPA launched a nationwide initiative, the Diabetes Leadership Edge (DLE), a call to action to address this growing epidemic. An innovative CME initiative, DLE gives you the resources to become expert care providers in diabetes management and to keep patients on track with their treatment. These resources will help you become the go-to provider on diabetes, improving patient care and elevating your value to your practice and patients.
PAs are playing a key role in the fight against diabetes. To support your work, AAPA recently added a new component to our national diabetes initiative: the DLE Patient Registry, a cloud-based, HIPAA-compliant repository of patient data. (Learn more about that in November’s PA Professional.)
The Academy is a leader in diabetes awareness, and we are working with leaders from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), the American Association of Diabetes Educators, the American Diabetes Association and others to fight this disease. Earlier this year, AAPA leaders and staff were part of a group that crafted an AACE white paper on obesity and the downstream implications.
Diabetes touches on every specialty in which PAs practice. Currently, AAPA Chair of the Board/Immediate Past-President Larry Herman and I are leading a team crafting an obesity white paper that will provide PAs in all specialties with a road map on how to treat the condition and its comorbidities, such as diabetes.
As a leader of AAPA, I am pleased to support the work of the Academy and your work with patients. I encourage you to continue your diabetes discussions with your patients, but I also encourage you to take care of yourself.
We need to lead by example, incorporating healthy eating and exercise into our lives. Use AAPA resources, like DLE, to learn more.
We need you in the fight against diabetes and your patients do too.
John G. McGinnity, MS, PA-C, DFAAPA, is president of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.