NDEP Names New Chair

As the National Institute of Health's National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) institutes a new strategic plan, the group also welcomes a new leader who is familiar with the goals of the program.

As the National Institute of Health’s National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) institutes a new strategic plan, the group also welcomes a new leader who is familiar with the goals of the program.

The NDEP, a collaborative effort between the National Institutes of Health and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, officially welcomed Linda Siminerio, RN, PhD, as the new chairperson.

Siminerio said part of implementing the plan is to change the way they approach their goals in an effort to spread their message more effectively. Rather than producing their own materials, she said the NDEP will now work with partners and partner organizations to help the more than 29 million Americans currently diagnosed with diabetes, and the millions more who are at risk of the condition.

“The NDEP is there and is a valuable resource for materials,” she said. As one of the people to craft this new approach, Siminerio said she is excited to see what the program can accomplish in the year ahead.

One area that Siminerio said she believes will only get stronger going forward is the NDEP’s HealthSensewebsite. “That’s one of our premier offerings,” she said. “Everybody’s looking through things through websites and technologies.”

She said the NDEP will also be looking at the partnerships they currently have and what can be done to expand that network. “The first step will be to determine what are the key things that make partnerships strong,” she said. “We will be assessing partnerships and developing some of the ones that are weak.”

Judith Fradkin, MD, director of the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Disease for the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, in a statement called Siminerio “a pioneer in the field of diabetes education, a nationally recognized advocate for diabetes education and care.”

She added, “Dr. Siminerio has developed strategies that have translated successfully into programs to help all people with diabetes, and specifically those in underserved populations.”

As the number of cases of diabetes continues to grow, Siminerio said education will continue to be a key job for people throughout the healthcare community. She said that is particularly true for patients with type 2 diabetes.

“We have to learn how to reach people on behavior change,” she said. “It’s all focused on behavior change and that happens on many many levels.”

The NDEP will also be looking to tackle medication adherence for patients as well.

“The NDEP is always just one step ahead,” she noted. “We say here’s some experts, we’ve gotten all the experts together in the field and here are some strategies.”

By bringing in some of the best and brightest in the field to provide solutions for patients and doctors alike, Siminerio said the tools the NDEP provides, “are appealing things that people beat their heads against the wall about when somebody’s already done it for them.”

With so many people in the country diagnosed with diabetes Siminerio said strong partnerships can help tackle what is an ever-growing problem. “When you’ve got 29 million people in the United States with diabetes, and so many people at risk, that’s why we need people to pull together to make change.”

Currently serving as the executive director of the Diabetes Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, Siminerio said she will stay in Pennsylvania while taking on these new responsibilities. She is also the chair of the International Diabetes Federation’s Bringing Research in Diabetes to Global Environments and Systems program.