The Clinical and Research Advisory Committee is an active working group of multi-disciplinary service providers in the diabetes community who have a passion and interest for supporting the young adult population with T1D. These providers are committed to working with CDN to identify innovative approaches to ease the management of diabetes among young adults. We will be interviewing members of this Committee to introduce you to them, their work in the diabetes sector, their research interests, and why they are passionate about CDN!
Jessica Kichler is a diabetes psychologist and certified diabetes educator at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital where she oversees about 25% of the Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology. She initially became involved in CDN after being invited to contribute feedback for the Off to College Event Host Kits in 2015, and had since been a member of the Advisory Committee. She works specifically with young adults, adolescents, and children with diabetes. Before working at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, she worked at a Children’s hospital in Milwaukee where she developed their diabetes psychology program. Currently, she works in clinical work as well as research. Dr. Kichler’s research is focused on clinical interventions involving effective ways for families to work on diabetes management together as a team, using different teaching methods and techniques.
Dr. Kichler’s passion for diabetes came about by chance. During her residency, she was working with patients with eating disorders and would have patients with both an eating disorder and diabetes, who would be omitting insulin. Through this work, she found her direction in diabetes as area in which she could provide the best care for these patients.
One of the most challenging parts of working with adolescents with diabetes is navigating the dynamic between the parents and the rising young adult.
"Often the balance of independence is hard to attain between a child wanting to move into adult responsibilities and a parent who wants to remain active in their adolescent’s diabetes management."
Dr. Kichler says that communication is key for both the parent and child in situations like these.
Her biggest piece of advice for adolescents and parents is to be clear about everyone’s specific role in diabetes management, and how this may be different as the adolescent becomes a young adult. Ensuring that everyone stays involved in the patient’s care over time has a concrete way of contributing can help to mitigate any areas of conflict due to misunderstandings. For parents, Dr. Kichler says that it is important to remember that all of this transition to young adulthood is a process, and it is of utmost importance to ensure your adolescent becomes as independent and healthy as possible.