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School of Nursing Combats Life-Threatening Complications of Type 1 Diabetes  

Frame from video about Type 1 diabetes

A grant supporting awareness, education and outreach in Pennsylvania was completed.

January 11, 2021

The School of Nursing has completed a $100,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health to raise awareness of Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) and prevent diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a life-threatening complication of the auto-immune system. The funds were secured with the help of State Senator Pat Browne (R-Lehigh). The multi-disciplinary grant project focused on awareness, education and outreach related to Type 1 Diabetes.

According to the CDC, some 1.25 million Americans are living with Type 1 Diabetes, including about 200,000 youth (less than 20 years old) and more than 1 million adults (20 years old and older.) Approximately, 40,000 people are diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes each year in the United States. The rate of diagnosis has been increasing, and by 2050, 5 million people are expected to be diagnosed with T1D.

Recognizing the prevalence of Type 1 Diabetes in the Pennsylvania, Senator Browne secured the $100,000 grant which funded Cedar Crest College’s efforts.

“Type 1 Diabetes and its complications, including Ketoacidosis, continues to be a growing health concern for our state’s population, especially those in younger demographics,” Sen. Pat Browne said. “Through the development of these modules and outreach campaign, the incredible team at Cedar Crest College is working to bring about greater public understanding and awareness of Type 1 Diabetes and its harmful effects on an individual’s health.”

“We are honored to have received this grant and share the resources we developed, particularly during Diabetes Awareness Month, that can help parents, healthcare practitioners, teachers and the public be in a better position to know the signs and symptoms of T1D and ultimately prevent potentially life-threatening complications like DKA,” said Dr. Wendy Robb, Dean of the Cedar Crest College School of Nursing. “We thank Sen. Browne for his commitment to this cause and for securing resources to help bring greater awareness and understanding of this devastating disease.”

The grant initiative focused on educating daycare and early childhood teachers through a Penn State Better Kid Care module; developed a Continuing Medical Education module for Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners and healthcare providers; and created a social media campaign to educate the public about T1D and DKA. The Penn State Better Kid Care module resulted in 2,788 training hours in Pennsylvania and nearly 3,000 training hours nationally. The Spanish translation of the module Concientización y Manejo de Diabetes en Niños Pequeños (Diabetes Awareness and Management for Young Children) has also been made available by the nonprofit organization Beyond Type 1.

An interdisciplinary team was assembled by Robb and includes several experienced professionals to guide the efforts and ensure that all perspectives were fully understood and addressed when assessing the needs of parents, guardians and caregivers of those diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. The team also included parent advocate Debbie Healy, whose advocacy focuses on preventing DKA at the diagnosis of T1D in both children and adults.

The execution of the grant was complicated by COVID-19 restrictions but was successfully completed on time using alternate modalities.

Type 1 Diabetes Information and Resources Videos

School of Nursing