DANA: The New Resource for Diabetes Educators


Diabetes educators are preparing to participate in a major conversation at this year’s AADE18 in Baltimore, Maryland—the American Association of Diabetes Educators’ Annual Meeting.

The hot topic? Technology.

AADE recently announced the launch of DANA, its newest resource for AADE members. Diabetes Advanced Network Access (DANA) keeps a host of information about the latest diabetes-related technology up-to-date and available, allowing healthcare providers to absorb and relay tips for the which apps to download and news about newly-released devices.

According to an AADE press release, the aim of DANA is to grant diabetes healthcare professionals across the diabetes space access to the most current, top-of-the-line feedback and facts on technology. The idea is that these providers can then filter that information and pass it along according to the needs of the populations they serve.

AADE currently has over 14,000 members, whose professions range from certified diabetes educators (CDEs) to nurses to nutritionists to pharmacists who work with people affected by diabetes. DANA is offered to current AADE members; a login and membership is required in order to access its resources. Sponsored content from tech companies like Dexcom is also featured on the site.

“I’m confident that DANA will become the diabetes educator’s go-to source for resources, research and insight into diabetes technology advancements,” said Crystal Broj, AADE’s chief technology and innovation officer.

“Never before have diabetes educators been able to easily download information about the latest devices, access technology-focused educational courses and get tech news … all in one place.”

How will DANA make a difference in the work that CDEs and others are doing every day to help improve the lives of people with diabetes? Former AADE President Deborah Greenwood, PhD, RN, BC-ADM, CDE, FAADE, is excited about how such a resource will shape the landscape of diabetes care.

“Importantly, DANA is not just about the devices we typically think about when we think diabetes technology (pumps, sensors, meters etc), it’s also focused on digital health solutions and future tech innovation,” said Deborah, who is now the president of Deborah Greenwood Consulting, based in Sacramento, California, “I think the opportunities are endless as people start using DANA. I’m excited to see how it changes and improves with feedback from educators in the trenches.”

One such educator, MaryPat Ambrosino, MA, RD, CDN, CDE, manages Diabetes Education and Outpatient Nutrition Services at Ellis Medicine in Schenectady, New York. MaryPat coordinates the Diabetes Self-Management Education/Support Program and the Diabetes Prevention Program. She is particularly excited about the significant amount of time she will save when she doesn’t have to schedule hours in her day to do research like downloading apps, creating accounts, testing the apps and evaluating whether they will benefit her patients.

“It’s going to be amazing because [DANA includes] all the resources diabetes educators need to inform patients about making good decisions,” MaryPat said, “We see patients and there’s not a lot of time to spend an hour looking at different apps. We compile information, but it’s changing all the time. If it’s right there and AADE has already done that work for us [that will save valuable time].”

As she spoke, MaryPat was preparing to travel to AADE18. After familiarizing herself with the site, she is looking forward to learning more about incorporating DANA into the work she’s doing at her practice.

“Technology is really going to be the theme of AADE this year,” she added, “Anything that helps diabetes educators do their jobs helps the patient.”

That includes patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes; MaryPat acknowledged that her patients have different needs for technology and apps depending on their comfort level using various tech, their diabetes management and other variables. The DANA site directs users to a separate page, DANAapps.org, that features a library of apps, organized into various categories, that are rated and reviewed by healthcare professionals.

Marie Ochiogrosso, BSN, RN, CDE, program director of the Nutrition and Diabetes Center at Community Care Physicians based in Albany, New York, echoed MaryPat’s thoughts.

“It’s a wonderful idea because we are all so busy seeing the patients that we can quickly get behind on the latest technology unless we actively pursue the information,” said Marie, who has discussed DANA at a CDE meeting earlier this year but has not yet used it, “And we want to get the information from a reliable resource, not just the company selling the product.”

This resource has been a few years in the making, said Deborah Greenwood.

“I’ve been involved since the inception of the concept. In 2015, when I was AADE president, the board of directors developed a strategic plan that incorporated technology on many levels. We started a technology work group to evaluate the field and identify gaps and needs of diabetes educators and identified that AADE would really benefit by employing a chief technology and innovation officer to lead these initiatives. Over the past few years, everything has come together.

It is exciting to see DANA up and running!”

Read more about diabetes management and technology.

WRITTEN BY Katie Doyle, POSTED 08/16/18, UPDATED 10/29/22

Katie Doyle is a writer and videographer who chronicles her travels and diabetes (mis)adventures from wherever she happens to be, and she’s active in the community as an IDF Young Leader in Diabetes. She’s written about dropping her meter off of a chairlift in the Alps, wearing her pump while teaching swim lessons on Cape Cod and the many road trips and fishing expeditions in between—she’s up for anything and will tell you the story about it later. Check out www.kadoyle.com for more.