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Deborah Greenwood

Lifetime SPM member Deborah Greenwood is a diabetes educator who has long believed in patient empowerment and participatory medicine. SPM welcomes posts authored by our members – see the guidelines.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. And November 14, 2018 is World Diabetes Day. Help us spread the word that the language we use in healthcare matters!

Please watch these 2 videos.  They focus on using empowering, person first language. You can find the videos on YouTube at Changing the Conversation and Why Language Matters . You can also find them on the American Association of Diabetes Educators  AADE language resources page  Share them with your family, friends and co-workers. Share on social media using #LanguageMatters!

These videos are based on a 2017 position paper The Use of Language in Diabetes Care and Education. The goal is to raise awareness about how language can impact health.

Everyone needs to stop using language that stigmatizes. We need to stop blaming and shaming people. We will all be healthier if we are treated as equal partners in our care. And the way we communicate is the first step. I know this is preaching to the choir with this group!

In the spirit of participatory medicine, we developed the videos with the diabetes community. Together we created a list of questions for people living with diabetes, diabetes educators and clinicians. These individuals sent us feedback about their experiences with language.  We used their answers to draft the scripts and capture their emotions. Then, we sent the scripts back to the people that gave us input.  We needed to be sure we captured the right content and feelings they wanted to share. Last, the team at Mytonomy used their unique skill set to produce the videos. Everyone in these videos either lives with diabetes or works in the diabetes field. They all donated their time, so these videos can be a free resource. Because language is important to them.

We are happy to share these 2 videos with the greater participatory healthcare community. While they focus on diabetes, you will see that these guidelines apply to all people managing health conditions.

Using language is a habit we have developed, and just like anything else, it takes time and practice to change behavior!  Let’s help change behavior because #LanguageMatters!

Deborah Greenwood, PhD, RN, BC-ADM, CDE, FAADE
President, Deborah Greenwood Consulting

2015 President, American Association of Diabetes Educators

Lifetime member of the Society for Participatory Medicine





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