Nashville, Tennessee - Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)
This summer I worked at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) in Middle Tennessee. The organization’s main goal and purpose is to fund a cure for Type 1 diabetes. JDRF’s numerous chapters throughout the United States, as well as four international chapters, raise funds through walks, galas, and other events. While actively searching for a cure, the organization also strives to improve the lives and health outcomes of those living with the disease. Through advocacy, support networks, and educational events the JDRF assists both those living with Type 1 diabetes and those closely impacted by the disease.
My project focused on expanding the educational recourses that the Middle Tennessee chapter could provide, with the hope of sharing this new material with other JDRF chapters. Together, the Middle Tennessee chapter and I envisioned a course which aimed to educate non-primary caregivers about Type 1 diabetes in order improve the care that young Type 1 diabetics receive while under their supervision. This training did not previously exist and is not information that can be easily dispersed due to its complexity. Therefore, many children could not be left alone with grandparents, babysitters, pre-school instructors and, in some situations, even biological parents who did not understand how to manage the disease.
The picture below was taken the day I received the created materials from the printing company. Included in the image is the curriculum, information sheets that the course participants can take with them, and worksheets intended to make insulin and carbohydrate calculations easier. Due to previously scheduled JDRF events and time constraints, I was not able to hold the course this summer, but the curriculum will be taught multiple times at JDRF’s TypeOneNation Summit in January and will be utilized by JDRF chapters and volunteers to host training sessions throughout the year.
Designing and creating this course was more challenging than I imagined, but also extremely fulfilling. It introduced me to the intricacies of health education and revealed the pressure of creating of a comprehensive yet easily understandable guide. The curriculum and materials will not only improve the care a child receives in the short term, but will also hopefully reduce long-term diabetes complications, lessen the strain felt by parents, and provide other family members and friends the independence to spend quality time with the child. This course should improve the well-being, comfort, and stress of the diabetic child, the primary caregiver, and those who desire to help in caring for the child.