Jillian Prior, Development Manager, ADA NJ
POINT OF VIEW:
Improving Education Locally and Nationally
Fit4D spoke with Jillian Prior, Development Manager, ADA NJ, who has an amazing position developing programs with ADA NJ, allowing her to work on a local level while staying in the know about what is happening nationally as well. Her insight on the topic of education informs us of the importance having local centers for diabetes control.
Tell us about what you love about your role with ADA NJ.
I am the development manager, which means I handle our gala events, social media, sponsorship proposals and our office website. It’s a mix between development and web planning. I love it because it’s always fresh and I get to work with different thought leaders.
Our office works to raise money for events and programming. We have a small office with an African American section; Latino section and schools outreach section. We just added Native American programming as well.
What are some projects ADA NJ is working on right now?
Our annual golf outing is coming up at the end of June. It’s held at the Cherry Valley Country Club and is a great way for our sponsors to get to know each other.
Another big project is our Latino and Hispanic initiative called Diabetes From Head To Toe held in New Brunswick in November. It’s a health-screening event, where hospitals come in for health exams and eye and foot exams. We have educational modules with various speakers and sessions teaching the guests about diabetes management. Prevention is such a huge piece to what we do. This year is our third conference. Around 800 people attend from Northern NJ, Staten Island and Pennsylvania.
What do you stress most in terms of prevention?
We stress prevention by teaching people about healthy living choices and the importance of exercise in their daily lives. Many patients are not aware of the fact that they’re in control of their own health.
What do you see as the most pressing issue right now in the diabetes community on a local level?
I really think it is education. Making people aware of the risks of diabetes. We work with a lot of hospitals in the area, and we feel that if one knew more about how they acquire diabetes they wouldn’t be in the position they are in today. It’s not necessarily that they are going to be diagnosed if they have pre-diabetes, so they are more in control of turning that around so they don’t acquire it. 79 million people across the US have pre-diabetes, which is defined as having A1C of 5.7 to 6.4. A big part of how we are getting those numbers down nationally and locally is about a month ago we had a day called National Diabetes Alert Day. We wanted everyone to take the diabetes risk test. We worked with all of our corporate partners in order to get these tests into all of their databases. We went to health fairs and it was available in Spanish and in English.
Why is the Latino community at such great risk?
There is a lot of research still to be done to determine why certain ethnic groups are at higher risk of developing diabetes. Some theories include genetic factors, diet and preventive health care access.
What do you like most about the Fit4D Pathways?
It seems like you work hand in hand with patients on how to manage diabetes that health care providers aren’t able to do which is great.
What is a good way for people to seek the help they need?
Many hospitals have Diabetes Care Centers for people to meet with endos instead of a regular physician. Certain care centers are accredited by the ADA. We can promote that standard of care to patients, which is through our national office, not our local office.
How can people get involved with ADA NJ?
People can get involved through our programs and events. We have walks and bike events, which allows the community to become a part of raising money for research and advocacy programs. You can see our list of events through our website diabetes.org/nj.
Following us on Facebook and Twitter are the best ways as well. We want it to be a source where people can get their diabetes news through Twitter. We also have info filtered in about what our office is doing locally. Facebook is all about our local office, and we include recipes and fitness tools as well. People can find both links on our site.
Interviewed by Alexis Fedor, Fit4D Online Marketing Manager