Dining with Diabetes extension program receives national accreditation

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Extension's Dining with Diabetes program recently was named an accredited diabetes education program by the American Association of Diabetes Educators, a national organization certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The accreditation will enhance access to high quality diabetes education services for people with diabetes in Pennsylvania, according to Debra Griffie, extension associate and Dining with Diabetes program coordinator.

"Dining with Diabetes is a comprehensive, lifestyle-modification program that offers hands-on, practical education to individuals with, or at risk for, type 2 diabetes," she said. "After completing the program, a significant number of participants experience a reduction in A1C and blood pressure and increase their diabetes self-management knowledge and skills."

Although Medicare reimbursement for participants is not guaranteed, program accreditation is a required element to obtain reimbursement for diabetes self-management training.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, diabetes was the sixth leading cause of death in the state in 2013. An estimated 12 percent of Pennsylvanians have been told by a doctor they have diabetes, and another 25 percent have diabetes but have not been diagnosed.

Diabetes education is a collaborative process through which people gain the knowledge and skills needed to modify behavior and successfully self-manage the disease and its related conditions. The Penn State program is taught in communities across Pennsylvania by trained extension educators and registered dietitians.

Griffie noted that Dining with Diabetes is the first extension-based program in the country to receive national accreditation.

Leslie E. Kolb, accreditation director for the American Association of Diabetes Educators, said accreditation assures that a program meets the National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support.

"Programs that meet these criteria are considered high quality and have been shown to improve the health status of the individuals who embrace the education and to help modify sometimes unhealthy behaviors," Kolb said. "Dining with Diabetes in Pennsylvania is exactly the type of program we envisioned when we set up our accreditation in 2009."

A list of Dining with Diabetes locations and dates can be found on the program's website.

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Last Updated May 27, 2016