It’s National Diabetes Month! We recently caught up with Eugenia Millender and heard more about how her organization is making a difference in diabetes education and treatment in Florida. We think you will enjoy hearing from her as much as we have!
OWG: Tell us about your organization and how it got started?
Eugenia: The Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Diabetes Education and Research Center (DERC) is a specialty clinic operated by the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at FAU and supported by Palm Healthcare Foundation. The purpose is to provide care to the medically underserved, ethnically diverse, vulnerable populations without regard of their ability to pay. In collaboration with the Gregory School of Pharmacy at Palm Beach Atlantic (PBA) University, we are able to provide a pharmacist as part of the diabetic care team.
With nearly 100,000 Palm Beach County residents who have diabetes and approximately 250,000 more at risk, FAU, PBA University and the Palm Healthcare Foundation bring together nurse practitioners, pharmacists, educators, researchers and nutritionists to teach children and families the best ways to care for themselves to help end our nation’s fastest growing disease.
OWG: What role do you play in DERC?
Eugenia: I am the clinical director. I am responsible for the overall operation of the clinic, but I have a phenomenal team that loves to educate and has a passion for helping each person reach their full potential that otherwise would not be possible without good health. Our staff is fluent in English, Spanish and/or Creole to ensure that we provide a “home” away from home, that is a caring and a culturally sensitive environment.
OWG: We love that you have an entire team of experts working together to provide support for each individual needing care. Can you share more with us on this approach to care?
Eugenia: The center provides support for children and adults of all ages who may be at risk for diabetes, have diabetes or are at risk for complications of diabetes. Diabetes education programs are offered to individuals, families, groups, community organizations and neighborhood groups. Programs offered include:
- At Risk for Diabetes
- Kid and Teens Lifestyle Program
- Carbohydrate Counting
- Diabetes and Pregnancy
- Diabetes Self Management Education
- Insulin Pump Training
- Medical Nutrition Therapy
- Medication Therapy Management
Care and counseling is provided by Certified Diabetes Educators, the key part of a team of experts that can include an endocrinologist, nurse practitioner, nutritionist and/or pharmacist, during a series of three visits lasting approximately 90 minutes each.
OWG: What inspires you in your job?
Eugenia: We have many inspiring stories. Many of our clients are uninsured or underinsured and many indicate that obtaining quality and compassionate care is rare under these circumstances. Many clients know they have diabetes but do not trust the healthcare system or are not able to maneuver through the healthcare system creating greater disparities. Providing a respectful and caring environment in our community in fulfilling and is resulting in healthier, happier and empowered people.
OWG: What kinds of things does your organization do during National Diabetes Month?
Eugenia: In the month of November we are providing free screening and education about diabetes at the FAU Diabetes Center. Clients have to call (561-803-8880) or contact them online for an appointment. We also provide community outreach education about obesity, nutrition, and diabetes management.