Advocacy and Student Rights

“Can you turn your alarm off?” That has probably been asked of me more times that I am willing to confess. Throughout elementary school, middle school and even at college, I heard those words. I am grateful for those who know I’m diabetic and show a little kindness. However, I knew once college ended and I got a job, different boundaries would have to be in place. When I worked as a tutor or a cashier at a pizza joint, everyone knew I was diabetic. Everyone knew what that looked like and… Read more
This was the message conveyed to me after one of the best endocrinology appointments I’ve ever had, at least in my adulthood. At the beginning of the appointment, my nurse practitioner asked me what I’d like to discuss with her. I babbled on and on about a disheartening message exchange between myself and another member of my healthcare team in which I was told I needed to have better control of my diabetes. I expressed how frustrating this was because I’ve made a lot of progress over the… Read more
Recently, I had the opportunity to interview George Huntley, CEO of the Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition (DPAC) and Diabetes Leadership Council (DLC). I asked him about current diabetes-related legislation and policy, and I learned more about DPAC’s vision for the future as well as their efforts and achievements that are already underway.
My name is Crystal Diaz and I am serving as a CDN NextGen Fellow this year! I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2019 at age 18 and am currently studying Global Disease Biology at UC Davis on the pre-PA route. I was so excited to discuss the topic of advocacy with Alicia Downs, who is so involved in the diabetes sector and in the healthcare field. As a young adult with hopes to enter the healthcare field, I wanted to learn about how other type 1’s navigated graduate school and their day-to-… Read more
I spent a good part of my childhood embarrassed of who I was. I would check my blood sugar under the table and hide my pump sites, trying to dismiss the notion that I had diabetes. I was mortified by any sign that I wasn't normal and I tried to hide it from everyone, even the people closest to me.  Eventually, as I got older I got too tired of hiding part of my identity from everyone around me. Pretending that I didn’t have this extra part of me. I started researching “invisible disabilities… Read more
I’m a massive reader, and I’m going to school for writing, so words are pretty important to me. They’re how I process my emotions and the world. I also tend to find a lot of power in labels. If I can describe something, I can understand it. When part of my identity diverges from what’s considered “normal” (whatever that means), I find comfort in being able to portray my own version. It also means that, in the past, I’ve cycled through quite a few monikers before I found ones that fit. I was… Read more
Emma: What encouraged Insulet to launch Advocacy for Access? Teresa Miller: One of the things that can be overwhelming for people with they are denied access to a pump (or other diabetes technology) is the advocacy process. We launched to make that process simpler and less intimidating. You can go to the site and depending upon whether you are advocating for yourself as an individual with diabetes, as a caregiver, supporter of someone with diabetes, or a healthcare… Read more
    I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2011 at age 12. After going to a doctor’s appointment where I was promised there would be no shots, I was ironically rushed to the hospital for a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes and shots for the rest of my life. Since then, I have had many ups and downs, but I have also found a community. I have been incredibly blessed with a wonderful and supportive family. Friends stood by me during my diagnosis and many of them learned with me as to how to best… Read more
CDN STUDENT ADVICE COLUMNISTS 2018-2019 Editor's note: A warm welcome to our new Student Advice Columnists for the 2018-2019 school year! They'll be answering your anonymous questions about everything T1D and young adulthood. Ask your question here! Q: What’s your best advice for finding a balance between not milking your accommodations and other’s sympathies and not having enough resources? I’ve always been told not to use my diabetes as a crutch but it’s hard sometimes when you get some… Read more
KAMERAN ULFERTS, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-KEARNEY '18 My experience with the disability services office at the university I attend, the University of Nebraska-Kearney, started out with a unique narrative. When I arrived to college as a freshman I had been living with diabetes for about five to six years and I began to soak up every opportunity of independence that presented itself. I grew up in a small, rural school where the label “diabetic” was almost always attached to my identity. Coming to… Read more
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