Advocacy and Student Rights

Allyson S. Hughes, M.A. is a doctoral candidate in the Psychology department at the University of Texas at El Paso.  She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1995 at the age of 7 years old..   .   .Switching health care providers (HCPs) can be challenging, especially when seeking a provider who is skilled in type 1 diabetes management for adults.  The to-do list is long and includes (but isn’t limited to) building rapport with a new provider, explaining medical history, and also discussing device data and/or medical needs.  It doesn’t have to be maddening though.  I’ve written some helpful tips to ease the burden of the process of finding a new provider.   To begin with, I believe that it best to approach this process in a positive light and view finding a new HCP as an information gathering mission. Gather Information on Potential HCPsThere are several steps to information gathering.  First, figure out what your insurance provides.  Often insurance plans change approved providers, so make sure that you have an updated provider list.  Second, know the difference between HMO and PPO plans—you have to get a referral for HMO plans but not for PPO plans. Knowing what you have...
Question:What kind of disabilities services should I ask for? I am a freshman in college and I'm not really sure what I might need from the Office for Disability Services (ODS) for T1D, and the ODS counselor isn't really sure what is appropriate to offer. Thanks.Answers:Maddy:You’ve already taken a smart step at the start of your college career by getting in touch with ODS! I went through my first two years of college not even knowing I could have registered with my university’s student disability services program having T1D. If you had a 504 plan (or other accommodations) during high school, you may want to bring that document with you to your next meeting with ODS. ODS can see how they can be formatted to fit your needs in a college setting.   Here are some accommodations that might be beneficial:  Permission to eat in class and leave to use the restroom. In my experience, very few professors have an issue if you eat in class or need to get up to use the restroom. However, just in case you come across one who does have a problem with this, you may want to have accommodations already in placeExtra time...
Millennials have a lot going on. Many of us are busy trying to get an education, working part time or even full time jobs to pay for school, and trying to have a social life all at once. There’s even more to balance  for those of us with or impacted by type one diabetes (T1D) because we have to closely monitor our health on top of it all. It’s not easy trying to juggle all of these things, so when we’re told that we should do something, but it isn’t necessarily required, we immediately jump on the opportunity to relax for once, to flat out just not do it, sit down and catch up on our favorite show on netflix, or just take a five minute nap because goodness knows we don’t get nearly enough sleep. However, just because we aren’t forced to do something, that doesn’t mean we should just push it off to the side. Registering to vote, (and actually voting), are two of those things that may not be required, but certainly shouldn’t be ignored!As a young woman with T1D, I pay a lot of attention to the news and politics, because the state of our nation’s...
If you’re reading this post, I can almost guarantee that sometime, somewhere, you’ve come into contact with someone who was misinformed to some degree about diabetes. I’ve learned to expect and accept this; after all, the media doesn’t do a good job of dispelling diabetes myths and outdated information.I was not, however, expecting misinformation to come from a college professor in the School of Public Health & Health Sciences.I was caught off-guard by her explanation of type 1 diabetes, a description in which we T1s are born without insulin producing cells, and are all diagnosed at birth. Did I really just hear that come out of her mouth? Should I say something? Even though I’ve had diabetes for nearly 15 years, and have taken the time to learn about the physiological processes involved, the thought of insinuating that an experienced professor, with a PhD, was WRONG, was a bit scary. Especially in a class with 300+ students.I’m usually the kind of person who quietly seethes when something like this happens, but on that day, I felt compelled to speak up. I raised my hand and, as politely as possible, stated that I was diabetic, and that I understood the cause...
Merriam-Webster defines advocacy as “the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal: the act or process of advocating for something.”This definition helps to remind me that advocacy is about the “big” and the “little” things. It’s advocacy for a community, but it’s advocacy for you, too. Both of these forms of advocacy are equally important and often work together.Sometimes, I get caught up in just the “big” parts of advocacy; raising voices together, taking action, making change at the institutional level. Those forms of advocacy really drive me, but many of us advocate for ourselves in little ways every day. All types of advocacy are needed; from joining together during Diabetes Awareness Month, College Diabetes Week, and Changing Diabetes Day to simply requesting a diet soda when you know the one you got just tastes a lot like a regular soda…All of that’s advocacy, and I personally love and believe in all types. We need to recognize and pat ourselves on the back for all of the forms of advocacy we participate in. During Diabetes Awareness Month this year, I’ve felt like I’ve been able to join and watch advocacy all across the spectrum through CDN which has...

PenPals United

“Jack, I have something to tell you,” Dr. Santosh Gupta, my endocrinologist, said to me and my mom as we sat in the exam room. “I’m retiring and starting a foundation to help children with diabetes in northern India.” In this bittersweet moment, little did I know I would find my passion.A year later, when Dr. Gupta visited the states, we met up for lunch. Up to this point, I had been writing letters to a girl named Surbhi, who lives in northern India and has type one diabetes like me. Dr. Gupta had asked me to write to Surbhi, as she had a fear of hypoglycemia like me but had no support network, an all-too-typical situation for so many children in resource-poor communities worldwide.“There have to be more children out there like Surbhi,” I said to Dr. Gupta. An idea then popped into my head. “What if we did online support groups, on Skype, with your patients in India?” I asked Dr. Gupta. An idea was born: Penpals United.To this day, Penpals United serves over 250 children in India, Rwanda, Uganda and Mexico. Our mentors come from all over: the United States, England, India, and Mexico. Beyond offering their...
College Diabetes Network’s mission, in a sense, is to ease the difficulties of going to college with diabetes. Granted, there are many challenges - Isolation, discrimination, and stigma chief among them. We do this by providing tangible resources and support, but I think the most important part of what we do is encouraging young adults to advocate for themselves – to find the points of isolation, discrimination, and stigma, and stand up for themselves in the face of them – battle them at their source.Fortunately for me, and most of the population served by College Diabetes Network, these are the hardest battles we will have to face in life with diabetes. For these battles, advocacy is the best weapon we have. But this Valentine’s Day, I encourage our readers to take a moment and step outside of their personal experience with diabetes, and expand their view.The worst discrimination against diabetics in this world is not in having to fight for your right to reschedule a test because of a low blood sugar, but in healthcare systems that fail to provide even the supplies necessary, let alone the education and peripheral support, for a diabetic to live. Yes,...
Thanks to Katharine Gordon, Director of the Legal Advocate Program at the American Diabetes Association, for answering some of our students most pressing questions about their legal rights in the workforce.How can I showcase all of my diabetes-related research, fundraising, and club memberships on my resume without giving away the fact that I have diabetes?This is a good question. If you do not want to reveal that you have diabetes, one strategy is to make sure you also highlight activities not related to diabetes. In this way, people considering you for a position or program will focus on your strong record of service with your community rather than a diagnosis.But sometimes it’s not a problem to reveal that you have diabetes, depending on the situation. For example, if you are applying for a research internship in a diabetes lab, it might make sense to disclose it. You could explain that you have a deep interest in that particular research due to your own experience with diabetes.It is always good practice to thoroughly research all prospective employers. Knowing as much as possible about the position and the organization before even applying will give you a sense as to how best to tailor...
I was sitting in the library, flipping through my Instagram feed, when I realized it was #ThrowbackThursday. As an Instagram fiend, I immediately started pondering over the picture I would dig up from the past and post on this fine Thursday morning in November. The solution came to me quite quickly: not only was it #tbt, but November 14, 2013 was also World Diabetes Day…how convenient! I would post a picture that not only worked for #tbt, but could also show my support of diabetes awareness! Now, what picture to choose….As I flipped through the photos on my phone and on my Facebook, searching for the perfect diabetes image, I smiled at all of the people I recognized in the pictures. I stumbled upon a picture of my field hockey team at the 2010 Walk to Cure Diabetes, which my family and I had participated in since we moved to Mass in ‘96. They had painted my initials in a red heart on their cheeks, and one of my friends was even wearing a shirt she made that read “I love DP” on the front. I saw a picture of my coach, bundled up in layers of sweatshirts and coats...
Are you a young adult between the ages of 18 and 24?  Are you living on your own, or spending a lot of time away from the ever-watchful eyes of your parents, at a college or university?  Are you aware of some of the health risks and precautions you are prone to at this time in your life?  You probably spent some time in your high school wellness classes discussing important health and safety practices for people your age…thankfully, this blog is not about any of those topics.Equally important but not quite as uncomfortable as those Sex Ed classes, StripSafely is an attention-grabbing campaign advocating for test strip accuracy as it relates to diabetes management (whew!).  Did you know that the test strips you use every day when you check your blood sugar can be skewed from your actual BG by a whole 20%, sometimes more?   This means a reading of 200 mg/dl could range anywhere from 160-240 mg/dl—that makes quite a difference when you’re giving a correction!  Imagine basing a correction off of a reading of 400 mg/dl—a 20 % margin of error in both directions means you could actually be anywhere from 320-480 mg/dl!  That’s a HUGE difference...

Pages

Hear Our Story

Connect With CDN

Find out how to support CDN.

Receive our e-newsletter.

Have a question?

The College Diabetes Network (CDN) is a 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to provide innovative peer based programs which connect and empower students and young professionals to thrive with diabetes.

Find out more about our current Corporate Members, or learn how to become one.