Meet the hardworking and dedicated team of diabetes educators at the Berrie Center. The diabetes educators are key members of the multidisciplinary diabetes care team that help care for the Berrie Center’s pediatric and adult patients with diabetes.
“Self-care is the cornerstone of diabetes management,” said Dr. Robin Goland, Co-Director of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center. “The diabetes educator plays a critical role in helping the patient and family acquire the necessary self-care skills so they can successfully manage diabetes and live healthy and full lives.”
The Berrie Center diabetes educators are dedicated, smart and multi-talented and include nurses, nurse practitioners, and dieticians. They are Ericka Arrecis, RD, CDE; Emily Casciano, RD, CDE; Gina DiNapoli, PNP, CDE; Caroline Bohl Hoffman, RD, CDE; Linda Koplimae, RN, MSN, CDE; Patricia Kringas, RN, MA, CDE; Amanda Kirpitch, MA, RD/LDN, CDE; Sarah Pollak, RN, MS, CCRC CDE; Courtney Sahn, RD and Kelly Walker, RD, CDE.
In order to become certified as a certified diabetes educator (CDE), a licensed health care professional, such as a nurse or dietician, must work in the field of diabetes self-management education for 1,000 hours and then pass a comprehensive examination.
Before coming to the Berrie Center last spring, adult diabetes educator Amanda Kirpitch was the Nutrition Educator at the Joslin Diabetes Clinic for seven years. “I love working with the different types of patients and helping them find a way to have diabetes be a part of their lives and less of a second job,” said Amanda. “I love helping patients explore the new technology and incorporate foods that they may have had difficulty managing effectively.”
The gratification that comes after helping someone through a difficult situation is what often motivates a diabetes educator. “When a patient comes back after trying something new with exercise, diet, or adjustment of medications and says (with a huge smile on his/her face), ‘I did it! I feel better and I want to keep trying!’” said Kelly Walker, diabetes educator and type 2 diabetes research coordinator who herself has had type 1 diabetes for 28 years.
Added Emily Casciano, pediatric diabetes educator, “what gives me the most pleasure is watching my patients succeed. When they learn how to overcome the challenges they are faced with, I feel rewarded.”
Ericka Arrecis, adult diabetes educator at the Berrie Center for the last 7 years, says, “I enjoy working closely with patients to the point in which they have built up the practice, awareness, knowledge and confidence to make accurate and precise decisions on their own diabetes management,” she said.
The Berrie Center is well known for its excellence in, and emphasis on, patient education. An impressive array of daily classes is offered, as well as monthly workshops (i.e. exercise and diabetes, going to school with diabetes, going to college with diabetes) that have been designed to help people their lives to the fullest with diabetes. The patient education program is directed by Patricia Kringas, head of diabetes education and type 2 research coordinator.
“The Berrie Center diabetes educators are extraordinary - they are knowledgeable, passionate, patient, compassionate, and nonjudgmental,” said Dr. Goland. “They are excellent teachers and clinicians and they make all the difference for our patients and their families.”