Diabetes Dialogue: Reforming Language in Metabolic Disease, with Jane Dickinson, RN, PhD


At ADA 2023, hosts Diana Isaacs, PharmD, and Natalie Bellini, DNP, sat down with ADCES President-Elect Jane Dickinson, RN, PhD, to discuss her work to address shortfalls of the current language used in the management of diabetes.

The impact of stigma and lack of patient-centric language impacts healthcare at both an individual and population level, with this true across a host of conditions, but particularly true among people with diabetes.

At the 83rd Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association (ADA 2023), Jane Dickinson, RN, PhD, program director and senior lecturer at Teachers College of Columbia University, has taken aim at addressing both of these topics. At the meeting, Dickinson served as chair for an oral presentation session with a theme of expanding the delivery and perception of diabetes self-management education.

In addition to serving as chair in the aforementioned session, Dickinson, who also serves as the President-Elect of the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (ADCES) for 2023, sat down with hosts Diana Isaacs, PharmD, and Natalie Bellini, DNP, for a special edition episode of Diabetes Dialogue: Technology, Therapeutics, & Real-World Perspectives.

During the episode, Dickinson recounts her journey to becoming a certified diabetes care and education specialist despite setting her sights on a career in oncology when first entering medicine. With this journey spurred in part by her own type 1 diabetes diagnosis in 1975, it comes as no surprise Dickinson has chosen addressing stigma and improving use of patient-centric language as her mantle for her upcoming stint as president of the ADCES, with the specific aim of removing the word “control” from the vocabulary of providers.

“My research, which you asked about, is focused on the experience of people living with diabetes in terms of language and messaging,” Dickinson explained. “So, the words that we use and the messages that we send when we talk to and about people with diabetes. It has been a fascinating journey, because we are learning so much about how the messages we send through our words, our written and spoken words, is connected directly with therapeutic inertia. It's directly connected to stigma.”

Relevant disclosures for Dr. Isaacs include Eli Lilly and Company, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi, Abbott Diabetes Care, Dexcom, Medtronic, and others. Relevant disclosures for Dr. Bellini include Abbott Diabetes Care, MannKind, Provention Bio, and others. Dr. Dickinson reports no relevant financial disclosures.


  1. Board of directors. ADCES. Accessed June 25, 2023. https://www.diabeteseducator.org/about-adces/governance/board-of-directors.
  2. Doskicz J. Meet the expert: Working to remove the word “control” From diabetes care. T1D Exchange. March 17, 2023. Accessed June 25, 2023. https://t1dexchange.org/meet-the-expert-jane-dickinson/.
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