This blog, I am honored to have a conversation with Susie King who is a Diabetes Prevention Coordinator at Indiana State Department of Health. Susie has worked in the diabetes industry for most of her career. Her experience has spanned the continuum of diabetes care, including promoting diabetes products for pharmaceutical and medical device companies to promoting diabetes education for a major Indiana healthcare system.
Susie began her diabetes career in 2000 as a Diabetes Care Specialist for Novo Nordisk Inc, marketing various insulin therapies and insulin delivery systems to primary care health care providers,endocrinologists, and certified diabetes educators throughout the state. In 2006, she took her career to the next level in diabetes management by joining Animas, a Johnson and Johnson company, as a Territory Manager promoting insulin pumps and insulin pump therapy. Beginning in 2008, she began working for Indiana University Health’s diabetes centers as a Referral Specialist supporting diabetes education efforts between their physicians and the 14 diabetes satellite offices in the Indianapolis and surrounding areas. In 2014, she joined the Cardiovascular Health and Diabetes Section at the Indiana State Department of Health as the Diabetes Prevention Coordinator.
The purpose of this blog is to exemplify the wonderful work the state of Indiana is doing to address a growing challenge with prediabetes. Also, to put a face to great team members, such as Susie, who are involved on all levels to make the state of Indiana healthier.
What does the Diabetes Prevention Coordinator do at the Indiana State Department of Health?
The Indiana Diabetes Prevention Coordinator’s primary responsibilities are to increase the general awareness of prediabetes, increase the number of National Diabetes Prevention Programs (DPPs) being offered in the state and encourage their use in community settings for primary prevention. Usually there is one person at each state’s health department dedicated to increasing diabetes education. However, Indiana is fortunate to have an additional staff person to work solely on prediabetes. Prediabetes is a “condition.” Diabetes is a “chronic disease.” They are two entirely different entities.
What is the prevalence of prediabetes in Indiana?
Nationally, prediabetes is a huge problem, with 86 million people having this condition. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 36% of adult Hoosiers have prediabetes. This is roughly one-third of the state’s population.
What is Indiana doing to address prediabetes in the state?
The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) has been working to build and strengthen the network of National Diabetes Prevention Programs (also known as lifestyle change programs) being offered within the state to assist people in adopting healthier lifestyles. When I began three years ago, only four areas of the state offered the program. Today, over 45 sites offer lifestyle change programs, with new ones emerging every few months. The State has also been focused on getting the word out about these programs to healthcare providers. This is being accomplished by numerous presentations to various statewide healthcare provider groups as well as other health organizations. A statewide diabetes prevention awareness campaign is also being put together. This campaign is aimed at the general population to inform them about what prediabetes is and encourage people to actively get screened for the condition. Knowledge is power! This state campaign is in addition to an ongoing national campaign that started in January 2016 and will run for the next three years. The national campaign was formed by joint efforts of the Ad Council, the American Diabetes Association (ADA), American Medical Association (AMA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What is the ultimate goal of the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program?
This program aims to assist individuals in the development and maintenance of healthier lifestyles, which will help them to prevent and/or delay the development of type 2 diabetes.
This is accomplished by having a trained lifestyle coach who will teach, encourage and motivate participants to make healthier food choices (to lose five to seven percent of their starting body weight) and find ways to add in more daily physical activity (at least 150 minutes a week). The group develops skills, like learning how to read food labels, ways to control their external environment and methods on how to deal effectively with psychological and emotional issues that go along with making these lifelong changes.Goal setting and self-monitoring is also an integral part of the process.
What can diabetes educators do to help in prediabetes interventions?
Diabetes educators have a unique opportunity to help slow and prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in the nation’s population. They can join us in this effort by starting their own National DPP. Since most diabetes educators are already addressing this particular population with referrals from their local healthcare providers, it only makes sense to reinforce these efforts by offering a National DPP to their local community. As we all know, habits do not change overnight. However, good solid habits can be formed and maintained with daily practice over time.
For more information on implementing the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program, visit