Health Education Specialists Expand Opportunities to Address Diabetes Epidemic

Urges Nation to Participate in National Diabetes Alert Day & Provides New Resources


Contact: Julia Gin (202) 408-9804 |

– Diabetes is a growing health problem in the United States and represents the seventh leading cause of death, affecting 25.8 million, or 8.3%, of the population. An estimated 79 million American adults aged 20 years or older have prediabetes.

On Tuesday, March 26, 2013, millions of people are participating in the American Diabetes Association Alert Day by taking the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.  The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) is proud to join in this effort and encourages all people to take the fast, free and easy seven-question test available here.

“Health education specialists play a vital role in helping individuals to reduce their risks of developing diabetes by promoting healthy eating and physical activity,” says Kelli McCormack Brown, PhD, CHES, SOPHE President. “We also work in communities, schools, worksites and other settings to support policies and conditions that make it easier for individuals to lead healthier lifestyles and follow the recommendations of their health providers.”

To expand the workforce of health education specialists who are armed to address the diabetes epidemic, SOPHE also is collaborating with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the National Certification Board of Diabetes Educators (NCBDE).  Recently, SOPHE successfully petitioned ADA to include health educators in the ADA Guidelines for Diabetes Self-Management and Treatment.  These guidelines are used by health insurers to determine third-party reimbursement for services.  In 2013, NCBDE approved SOPHE’s request to allow Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES) to be eligible to qualify for the exam to become a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE®). Beginning January 1, 2014, professionals with an MCHES credential will be eligibile to submit an application to become a CDE®.

In other efforts, SOPHE has developed “Spotlighting Diabetes Prevention: Empowering Communities to Take Control,” a toolkit containing information about diabetes health issues, evidence-based practices, and tips to help garner support for policies that promote healthy behaviors and lifestyle choices for those at risk of developing diabetes.  SOPHE will host a webinar on April 24, 2012, to discuss the shortage of a diverse health care workforce and the opportunities available for health educators through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

"As the nation faces the mounting epidemic of diabetes and the associated risk factors of obesity, there is a need to address the shortage of the diverse healthcare workforce,” says SOPHE’s Nicolette Warren, MS, MCHES, SOPHE Director of Health Equity. "Increasing the number of diverse, certified diabetes educators is essential to fighting diabetes disparities."

All SOPHE diabetes materials are available free of charge at Health education specialists, organizations, and communities are encouraged to make additional copies and distribute them as needed.

The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) is a non-profit professional organization founded in 1950 to provide global leadership to the profession of health education and health promotion and to promote the health of society. SOPHE’s 4,000 international and chapter members work in various public and private organizations to advance health education theory and research, develop disease prevention and health promotion programs, and promote public policies conducive to health. For more information, go to