Top 10 reasons the Healthy Interactions Conversation Map program has made me a better diabetes educator

This June has been very special for Healthy Interactions, as it marks ten years of our collaboration with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the Merck sponsorship of the Journey For Control program. At the same time, this is a special occasion for diabetes educators like me, who have been using Conversation Map tools for a decade now.

With this blog, I would like to reflect on how the Map program has made me a better clinician and facilitator. Consequently, advanced my career as a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE).

Here are my top ten reasons I think the Map tools helped me as diabetes educator:

  1.  Allow me to provide group DSMES that is truly evidenced-based and standardized. Otherwise, I would still probably use powerpoint slides and teach instead of allowing my patients to learn.
  2. Allowed me to have the same patients attending the same Map sessions for the last ten years. Yes, I have a group of PWD who have been attending monthly Map sessions for the last ten years: As their diabetes changes, their perspective and ability to self-manage changes. Consequently, use of the same Map, with the same participants but always a different way they experience the Map session!
  3. I have been able to get to know thousands of diabetes educators such as nurses, dietitians, doctors and pharmacists who I have trained to use the Map tools. Every time I train new facilitators, I learn from them, about their work, and challenges and opportunities for DSMES.
  4. Allowed other HCPs to evaluate my performance while training them. I have advanced my skills, as my peers provided me honest feedback about how helpful I have been (or not) in training them.
  5. The ability to publish several papers and research projects about the Map tools, allowing me to grow confident in evaluating effectiveness of DSMES, how it is best delivered, and examining what works vs what is not.
  6. I have learned how to become a better advocate for PWD and help other educators to transition from 1:1 education to group sessions. Many times 1:1 is perceived to be better than group. The reality is, if provided right, group sessions can be even better than 1:1 visit.
  7. Get to practice my corporate and sales skills. That is true, as diabetes educators we sell our services to providers and PWD.
  8. Learn how to engage my patients in a way that they want to complete all of ten hours of DSME, and want to later become my digital patient’s via our Digital Engagement Platform. Keeping patients engaged via online/digital coaching is a different skill set than providing in person interventions.
  9. Allowed me to learn from Healthy Interactions, Merck and the ADA team members who are not HCPs but contribute to DSMES advancement on the same level as HCP’s do.
  10. The most important is YOU, yes you, this blog reader - as you take time to be part of the same journey as I am!

How has the Map program changed your career?


  1. Charlie Stearns:
    Jun 28, 2017 at 01:08 AM

    I need to re-aquaint with Conversation Maps. I was trained, but never used.
    Charlie, PharmD. CDE

  2. Barbara Eichorst:
    Jun 28, 2017 at 07:58 AM

    Hi Charlie, thanks for the note. Looking forward to hearing your experience with using the Map tools. If you have been trained a long time ago, you can get a new set of Map tools with the most up to date medications updated and new guidlines.

  3. Marcia Pell, RDN, LDN, CDE:
    Jun 30, 2017 at 05:46 AM

    Great article Barbara. I'm glad to see I can get updated tools. I need to use my maps again. I've always liked them but have been through many changes since I last used them. You inspire me!

  4. Barbara Eichorst:
    Jun 30, 2017 at 07:31 AM

    Thank you dear Marcia! Please write me and let me know how your next Map session goes. Stay in touch and call me if you need to talk about ideas and strategies about restarting the Map sessions. Happy 4th of July!

  5. Diana Jones RN CDE:
    Sep 19, 2017 at 06:23 AM

    I have been using Maps since 2008 and love to use them in group sessions. Each group has a little different personality, but they tend to bond and enjoy active participation. Lately it seems PCPs have not made education a priority. Less referrals to make my classes happen infrequently. I have marketed to the groups, but to no avail. I think if I could take the class to the PCP office I would capture so many more patients. Any suggestions?

  6. Barbara Eichorst:
    Sep 19, 2017 at 09:45 AM

    Diana, happy to hear from you and congratulations on your 9 year anniversary of using the Map tools! Please kindly go on our website (http://healthyinteractions.com/facilitators) and print out a DSMES referral form. This might help when talking with PCPs about referring patients to Map sessions. Now DSMES for type 2 diabetes is 9-10 hrs of group education and the Map tools are full DSMES curriculum. You can also take a Map and do an inservice to the PCP team members and show them the Map and leave the referral to DSMES/Map, this way they will remember to send patients to you. Hope it helps.
    Barbara Eichorst, MS,RD,CDE

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