SEPT. 13, 2001 | Thanks to a large contribution from an Arkansas company interested in diabetes care, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) is expanding its services to physicians who treat Arkansans with diabetes.
The Arkansas Diabetes Program at UAMS provides continuing medical education to physicians around the state, emphasizing the importance of regularly monitoring the health of persons with diabetes.
With a gift of $150,000 from USA Drug of Pine Bluff, which has a special interest in diabetes, Debra L. Simmons, M.D., will coordinate intensive training for physicians and other health care professionals who volunteer for the training. USA Drug owns and operates pharmacies across Arkansas.
Teams of three to six physicians and others from private and public medical offices will attend three two-day learning sessions. They will receive new information about management of diabetes as a chronic condition, including a software-based checklist to use each time a diabetes patient visits a medical office for any reason.
UAMS also will mail information to 5,000 physicians in Arkansas and will conduct Diabetes Day public education activities.
Dr. Simmons is an endocrinologist and director of the Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism Training Program in the Division of Endocrinology at UAMS Medical Center and the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. She also is an assistant professor in the College of Medicine. She has directed diabetes education programs in Texas and San Diego, Calif. She is a fellow of the American College of Endocrinology.
Dr. Simmons, director of the diabetes program, met recently with E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., about the outreach program. The new dean of the College of Medicine at UAMS, Dr. Reece is a specialist in maternal-fetal medicine and an international expert in diabetes. They discussed possible ways to expand informational services to Arkansans with diabetes.
The Arkansas Diabetes Program is a comprehensive education and management program located at UAMS. The program has held the American Diabetes Association Certificate of Recognition since 1995. Programs that achieve recognition status have a staff of knowledgeable health professionals who provide participants with comprehensive state-of-the-art information about diabetes management.
The Arkansas Diabetes Program began in 1992 to help Arkansans manage diabetes in and prevent or retard the progression of diabetes-related complications. Its multidisciplinary team of endocrinologists, diabetes nurse educators, diabetes nutrition specialists and podiatrists provide intensive, very personalized support for patients.
The program offers broad-based education to health care professionals as well as the general public on diabetes treatment and care. The clinic presents diabetes management training to fellows, residents, house staff, medical students, nursing and dietetics students of the UAMS College of Medicine and the College of Health Related Professions. The team also travels across the state to educate professionals and the public in rural areas. The program sponsors Diabetes Update, an annual symposium for health care professionals.
The Arkansas Diabetes Program is involved in clinical research focusing on new treatments as well as how to provide best care for diabetes. One current trial evaluates the safety of a novel protein that may preserve beta cell function in new onset Type 1 diabetes.
In addition to Dr. Simmons, the following team members met with Dean Reece Sept. 4: Jan Wall, MS, RD, LD, CDE, diabetes nutrition specialist and coordinator, Arkansas Diabetes Program; Kelley Olree, MS, RD, LD, CNSD, research coordinator; Melinda Daily, RN, Diabetes Clinic nurse; Chastity Clark, registration and appointment specialist; and Lena Loeschner, point of service coordinator. Kathy Riordan, RN, CDE, diabetes nurse educator; Gina Bailey, LPN, diabetes clinic nurse; and Katherine Dishongh, BS, research coordinator, also are on the Arkansas Diabetes Program team.
Photo: Some staff of the Arkansas Diabetes Program at UAMS met with Dean E. Albert Reece when he visited the UAMS Diabetes Clinic. Dean Reece’s specialty is high-risk pregnancy involving diabetes. From left: Kelley Olree; Jan Wall; Dean Reece, and Dr. Simmons. (Amy Theriac, UAMS Media Services)
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USA Drug: http://www.usadrug.com/index2.html