November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Meet Gaby, a dietician turned PA student who became a Certified Diabetes Educator and works with diabetes patients.
Name: Gaby D.
Profession: Dietitian turned PA student
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Venezuela, graduated with my BS in nutrition and dietetics and worked as a Registered Dietitian (RD) in Maternal Fetal Medicine for three and a half years. During that time, I became a Certified Diabetes Educator, and discovered my passion for health and medicine was bigger than I thought.
Why did you become a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)?
It was the natural progression of my career. I was working as a diabetes dietitian for pregnant moms with diabetes, including gestational, Type 1 and Type 2. By holding a CDE certification, I would be able to better serve my patients, take higher responsibility in their management and collaborate at a higher level with physicians.
Why did you decide to become a PA?
My job as a CDE inspired me to expand my scope of practice. Even though it allowed me to participate more in my patients’ care, my role as an RD limited my scope of practice. So, I decided to look at all of my options and I chose the path the best aligned with my personal goals and career aspirations, the PA profession!
What advice would you give to someone who has an interest in learning more about diabetes?
Look for health professionals that are specialized in the area of diabetes. Ask to meet with a dietitian who can teach you how food affects your body and how diabetes plays a role. Make sure your healthcare team includes a CDE in the conversation. It may be a nurse, doctor, PA or dietitian.
What is your favorite aspect of being a CDE?
Seeing my patients progress, including learning about their new diabetes diagnosis, teaching them how to manage it, and seeing improved blood sugars. This part was extra special in the setting of OBGYN, because good sugars mean a healthy baby.
How has your CDE training affected your experience in PA school?
I think it helped me get here. It helped me develop skills that I will need as a PA, such as teamwork, empathy, communication and interpersonal skills. And I know it will be valuable as well once I become a PA, CDE.
What is something about diabetes that you wish everyone knew?
People don’t cause their diabetes. There are many, many factors involved in why someone gets diabetes, including things we cannot change like our family history, genes and ethnicity, that are involved in the development of diabetes.
Why is National Diabetes Month important to you?
National Diabetes Month is a time to raise awareness about diabetes, break myths and educate people about this epidemic that diabetes has become. I love helping others achieve and maintain a healthy life, and that can be done even if you have diabetes. I enjoy teaching and giving people the tools they need so that diabetes doesn’t take over their lives.