Friday, January 24, 2020

Impactful change

It was only yesterday that I was challenging us to not be so negative.

That doesn’t mean we can’t ask critical questions to find out the rationale behind things we don’t understand.

So with that, friends, I have to ask...

Has the American Association of Diabetes Educators lost its damn mind?

This week, AADE announced a name change. Anooooother naaaaame chaaaange.

This organization, whose leaders over the years I have defended as the champions of our patient community, many of whose members and leaders are my dear, personal friends, has made exceptional inroads over the last two years...changing the names of things.

I have tried to wrap my head around these big breakthroughs.

There was the news in 2018 about AADE changing the name of patient communities to “peer support communities.”

Okay, listen, several of us were angry about the tone of that one. AADE as a nonprofit does not own patient communities and we didn’t ask you to rebrand them, but fine. You want to be able to give our communities more clinical validity to your members and make them sound prescribable. I scoffed. Many scoffed. It was suggested patient advocates were blowing it out of proportion. That it would help see our support networks recommended to more of your patients. We agreed to disagree and we all moved on. Like good friends do when they disagree.

Then in 2019, the big news out of AADE was that they were rebranding CDEs (certified diabetes educators) as DESSs. DESCs? DESEs? I get it wrong every single time. Probably because it makes, quite literally, zero impact on the problems I see in treating diabetes today. It wasn’t even clear that AADE as a body had the authority to rebrand this certification.

I’ve seen justifications about how now physicians will treat educators like the specialists they are. Now they’ll respect the wide array of services these overworked and underresourced educators provide for people with diabetes.

Really? This is what the org charged with defending and supporting CDEs thinks it will take? I’m skeptical. This does not seem like an impactful change. Coincidentally, this was also when I began referring to AADE as AARE - the American Association of Renaming Everything.

Now it’s 2020 and there is a press release announcing the nonprofit’s rebranding to ADCES.

Friends, brave women and men who have been there for us in times of basal adjustment and prior authorization requests and “please help me figure out lunch at the office” times of need...who’s steering the ship over there? Blink twice if you need us to come get you. No questions asked.

I understand that we in the “peer support communities” aren’t the audience for these announcements. AADE/AARE/ADCES membership is. But please give some consideration to the optics of your decisions.

The population who needs you is increasing exponentially while educators’ capacity is imploding. Our access to you is impeded by restrictive reimbursement rules, especially those of us who live with T2D or Pre-Diabetes. Your numbers and geographic coverage are stretched beyond the support you are desperately trying to provide your patients. And the org specifically dedicated to supporting you in this mission seems perpetually fixated with rearranging letter magnets on a chalkboard.

A rebrand costs money. New business cards and office door plates for every formerly-known-as CDE. A new look and feel for your website. New logo marks, new brand guidances, new pamphlets, new conference identity materials.

Will a rebrand address a shrinking specialty in an exploding disease state where, more than ever, people with diabetes need your guidance and expertise managing ever-increasing-in-complexity device technologies and combination drug therapies? Where we need your steady hands to help us cover our ears to the detox-paleo-grapefruit-hot cinnamon-elimination diets in our Instagram feeds?

I’m trying to give the org, whom I have always supported and defended, the benefit of the doubt. To the world outside your bubble though, I’m sorry, but we don’t understand. Where is the news about the progress you’re making in supporting educators? Because the iceberg won’t care where you stack the deck chairs.

Much love,
I don’t know anymore

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