Diabetes Minor Created at UCSF School of Nursing and Honors Legendary Nurse Educator

An epidemic is sweeping the nation and world: diabetes. Almost 26 million children and adults in the United States – and 346 million worldwide – have the disease. Another 79 million Americans are considered to have pre-diabetes.

Now, thanks to a generous $1.5 million gift from a member of the Diabetes Center Leadership Council who has a child with diabetes, UCSF will be among the first in the country to educate and train nurses specifically to care for diabetes patients across their lifespan by establishing a new academic minor in diabetes at the UCSF School of Nursing.

“With increasing rates of obesity and an aging population, we need to train more nurses who can help patients manage the disease in a very knowledgeable way,” says UCSF’s Kit Chesla, RN, DNSc, FAAN, professor, diabetes researcher, and Shobe Endowed Chair in Ethics and Spirituality.

The Madison Clinic Peggy Huang Diabetes Nurse Fellows Program will prepare advanced practice nursing students to sit for qualification exams to become board certified advanced diabetes management (BC-ADM). As such, they will not only help patients manage their diabetes from a medical perspective, but also from a behavioral perspective. For example, they might help a patient who is struggling with their diet to set realistic goals and develop a concrete plan for adopting a healthier lifestyle.

The minor’s inaugural cohort of three to six students will enroll in the spring of 2013. They will begin by taking three courses: one each on advanced clinical management of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in children and adults, and one on the behavioral aspects of diabetes management. The classes are also open to any student who shows interest. They will then complete clinical rotations in the UCSF Madison Clinic for Pediatric Diabetes, the UCSF Justine K. Schreyer Adult Diabetes Care Center, or other family medicine clinics where many patients have diabetes.

Both the curriculum and clinical training are interprofessional in that they are joint ventures between the schools of medicine and nursing. While the program is affiliated with the School of Nursing, pediatric diabetes physicians Saleh Adi, MD, and Steve Gitelman, MD, both of whom are leaders in the Madison Clinic for Pediatric Diabetes, will teach some elements of the curriculum and help train nurses in the clinic. “This is just the latest example of the collaborative spirit among the basic research, clinical research and patient care programs that make up diabetes at UCSF,” says Matthias Hebrok, director of the UCSF Diabetes Center.

The donor’s gift also provides scholarships for three students – to be called the Peggy Huang Fellows – pursuing the minor per year. Both the scholars and the program are named for longtime UCSF nurse, certified diabetes educator, and co-founder of the UCSF Diabetes Teaching Center, Peggy Huang, RN.

“We thank our donor for stimulating and supporting this program,” says UCSF School of Nursing Dean David Vlahov, PhD, RN. “It really represents a launch pad for advancing nursing and interprofessional education and practice. It will be a model for the nation.”