Kelly Rawlings, person with type 1 diabetes
Editor of Diabetes Forecast
POINT OF VIEW
Passionate to create a meaningful publication for people with diabetes
What are you doing that’s new with Diabetes Forecast?®
We have redesigned Diabetes Forecast starting with our June issue. For one, our logo is new— the word “diabetes” is more prominent and in the forefront. There are also new sections, a community section with letters (written and electronic including tweets and facebook posts). We will also run polls or questions for interactivity. The latest one we did was a lot of fun, What’s On Your License Plate ? It was about diabetes messages on license plates. In this section, we also want to congratulate people and help people celebrate successes as opportunities for positive reinforcement.
Named in the June issue is the first reader panel which includes caregivers, people with diabetes, couples and others. The reader panelists will be advising the staff on topics and also read articles to be sure the information in Diabetes Forecast is best for people with diabetes. Panel members will serve as ambassadors and represent the diverse diabetes community.
Our “your health” section will include medications, monitoring, how to cope—all the 7 healthcare behaviors covered in diabetes education and AADE. It will also include a section on caregiving like helping with doctor’s visits or information on cooking. The audience will vary – from a caregiver of teenager with type 1 to the daughter of a person with diabetes who is aging.
What is your overall philosophy with Diabetes Forecast?
We’re a healthy living magazine. There are a lot of treatments and tools that work for diabetes but we know that there are important daily tips to help people manage diabetes. We cover science, practical tips and tools, with a positive future outlook of hope for diabetes. For every page we look at our content from this practical perspective. For example, with food we want to give ideas for a complete meal and not just a recipe. It helps give people ideas to stay within realistic amounts of calories and carbohydrate.
What direction are you are taking or do you want to take with Diabetes Forecast?
We want to reflect the realities of living with diabetes. Sometimes on our cover, for example, we show food, but mostly we feature real people with diabetes – to celebrate the inspiration and successes, and to be realistic about the challenges of managing diabetes. We want to reflect real life. It’s not just our staff making this magazine. We look at elements that our community says is important. It’s a 2 way street, we want to hear from our readers and members. I can’t do my job unless I hear from people so I want to find out concerns and what people want us to cover.
I heard from one reader who didn’t like how something was phrased in one of our articles. I called her, talked with her about her concerns and we had a great conversation. She ended up being a consultant to us on a piece about kids with diabetes. She really helped us shape the article. If our readers see something they disagree or don’t like we really want to hear. We definitely want an open conversation. A key part of my job is to be sure I am meeting people’s needs. This is really important to me.
Also, in your opinion what are the biggest challenges for people with diabetes as far as information and education?
There is a lot of information out there but it gets tricky when you are busy. You still have your life – work, mow lawn, take or a walk, etc. Diabetes is complex—from what foods you are buying at the grocery store to your healthcare insurance. You need to know how to integrate diabetes in the rest of your life and take care of yourself. Also, each person’s diabetes is unique; what works for food and meds for one person may not work for another. You need to find out what works for you and your custom plan. You may need help from CDE or RD or your diabetes coach and the effort you put in up front to figure it out is well worth it so that living with diabetes is not all-consuming.
How do you feel the diabetes landscape is changing?
The biggest thing is that diabetes is something that used to happen at the doctor’s office or at home. People didn’t want to admit they had diabetes; we are now being more open about chronic conditions and that you can live a full live with diabetes. And…. you aren’t alone.
As far as the political and public health side, we have huge expenditures with diabetes. We can help prevent type 2 in some people as showed in the DPP (Diabetes Prevention Program). People that are at risk can take steps to prevent it. I’m excited by that because no one chooses to have any type of diabetes, but some people can choose to take some steps to help prevent it. And the rest of us who can’t at this time prevent having the condition, we can help each other take good care of our health. That is really exciting!
Interviewed by Sherri Isaak, MS, RD, CDE, BC-ADM, Fit4D Director of Content Development