Announcing www.diabetescarecommunity.ca: Canada's first social network and online resource for families and friends of people with diabetes

TORONTO, Sept. 20, 2011 /CNW/ - More than 20 people every hour of every day receive the often-shocking news:  "you have diabetes".  For both patients and families alike, it's a diagnosis that can lead to confusion, fear, and so many questions. How will they manage their own care? How can they ensure a healthier future?

There are so many diabetes-related websites and social media conversations, it can be difficult to find answers amid all the rumours and opinion. But now, a unique online community will enable Canadians to share their experiences with each other and gain valuable insight and practical tips from health care professionals.

Diabetes Care Community, Canada's first social network and resource for families of those living with someone with diabetes, is launching on September 15th, 2011.  Diabetes affects lives, not only of the more than three million Canadians living with this condition, but also of the estimated three million more family and friends who play a key role as their caregivers. Now they have an online community to help them support and motivate their loved ones to better manage their condition.

"Diabetes Care Community has been created to connect Canadians with high quality information and expert advice from leaders in the field of diabetes", says Shelley Diamond, Pharmacist and President of the Diabetes Care Community Inc., "as well as to provide an area where members can connect to exchange experiences and support one another.  There are a few diabetes social network sites in the U.S., but this is the first in Canada.  The difference is that Diabetes Care Community uses Canadian reference values and refers to Canadian diabetes products which the user will be able to identify with."

Diabetes Care Community is guided by a six member advisory board [profiles attached]. Says board member Gail MacNeill, Manager, Leadership Sinai Centre for Diabetes in Toronto,  "Online social networking provides people living with chronic diseases and their supporters a wonderful opportunity to share experiences and provides support to one another, yet the quality of the information in some of these digital arenas may not be credible. We will ensure that Diabetes Care Community provides our audience with reliable and trustworthy information through our expert bloggers as well as leadership from the advisory board, while providing people an area to connect through a separate channel within the site."

Site content include blogs from six leading health care professionals - two physicians, a nurse, a dietitian, a pharmacist and a social worker - writing about healthy eating, physical activity, emotional support, medication, 'Staying on Track' and 'What's New'.

The Diabetes Care Community focus is on families of people living with diabetes, yet it will appeal to all people involved in diabetes care - people with diabetes, their support network, and health care providers. The website also features a comprehensive list of available Canadian diabetes products through the Canadian Diabetes Product Directory.

If you are interested in learning more about this exciting new health care resource, please call Shelley Diamond at 416-913-0429 or send an email to shelley@diabetescarecommunity.ca.  Shelley will be happy to talk with you and arrange for you to speak to members of our Advisory Board or our bloggers (diabetes healthcare professionals) for further details and comments.  Stock images are also available upon request.

DIABETES CARE COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD

Ian Blumer
Ian Blumer is a diabetes specialist in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Blumer is a member of the executive of the Canadian Diabetes Association. He is the recipient of the Canadian Diabetes Association Special Dedication Award. He is a director of the Charles H Best Diabetes Centre and has a teaching appointment with the University of Toronto. He is the author or co-author of 8 books including Diabetes for Canadians for Dummies, Diabetes Cookbook for Canadians for Dummies, Celiac Disease for Dummies, and has recently published his first novel. His books have been translated into French and Chinese. Dr. Blumer's web site is www.ourdiabetes.com.

Alice Cheng
Dr. Cheng is a member of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga and St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto. She completed medical school, internal medicine and Endocrinology training at the University of Toronto and has completed the Master Teacher Program offered through the Department of Medicine. She has served on the Expert Committee for the 2003 Canadian Diabetes Association clinical practice guidelines and the Steering and Expert Committees for the 2008 revision, along with the Dissemination & Implementation committee. She is serving as Chair for the 2013 CDA clinical practice guidelines. In addition to guideline development, Dr. Cheng has co-written several textbook chapters on dyslipidemia, diabetes and other endocrine topics and is actively involved in continuing medical education.

Shelley Diamond
Shelley Diamond graduated from the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto. Following graduation she pursued a pharmacy residency at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto where she worked as a clinical pharmacist for 10 years in general pediatric medicine and subsequently started the Drug Use Evaluation Program at the hospital. Since 1995, Shelley began her own independent pharmacy consulting company where she has consulted to Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaw Corporations Limited and several other pharmaceutical companies. Shelley's work has involved developing and marketing patient and pharmacist education programs in the areas of children's health, asthma and diabetes and she has published articles in this area as well.

Joanne Lewis
Joanne Lewis is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, working as Outreach Facilitator with the Toronto Central Diabetes RCC. Her responsibilities include coordination of diabetes services in the Toronto area. Joanne has previously worked with collaborative and multidisciplinary diabetes education teams in both community and hospital settings. Her focus for the past 17 years has been in diabetes self-management education. Joanne has developed and facilitated education programs for health professionals at The Michener Institute and is a faculty member of the Ontario Pharmacists Association in their Nutrition, Cardiovascular and Diabetes programs. She has served as an advisor and reviewer for several organizations, including the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario and the Canadian Journal of Diabetes. Joanne has presented at national and international diabetes conferences and workshops.

Gail MacNeill
Gail is a clinical nurse specialist and the manager of the Leadership Sinai Center for Diabetes at Mt. Sinai Hospital, Toronto. She has over 20 years experience in diabetes self-management education and treatment working in hospital, clinic, community and corporate settings. As a Certified Diabetes Educator, Gail has been a passionate advocate for the highest quality education to be available to all. She is the co-recipient of the Bayer Award for Educational Innovation due to her shared research and program entitled "Support the Supporters" and in 2008 Gail was honoured with the Educator of the year award by the Canadian Diabetes Association. Her volunteer work includes being chairperson of the Toronto Chapter of the Diabetes Educator Section and co-chair of the Scarborough chapter of the CDA. Gail is a clinical associate at the University of Toronto.

Gwen Morgan
Gwen Morgan is a Social Worker with over 20 years experience working with people with diabetes, and other chronic illness, in hospital care settings. Gwen specialized in running workshops on stress management and positive coping with diabetes.  Along with Gail MacNeill, she received the Bayer Award for the 'Support the Supporters Program'.  This was a program that uniquely focused on the families and friends of people who have diabetes, and how they could best support the person with diabetes, while at the same time meeting their own needs for emotional support.  Gwen has extensive training in solution-focused, motivational and mindfulness therapies.  She teaches mindfulness meditation and facilitates the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction groups for people living with pain, chronic illness and diabetes.

Image with caption: "Logo for Diabetes Care Community. Learn, connect and care. ANNOUNCING www.diabetescarecommunity.ca : CANADA'S FIRST SOCIAL NETWORK AND ONLINE RESOURCE FOR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS OF PEOPLE WITH DIABETES (CNW Group/Diabetes Care Community)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20110920_C2368_PHOTO_EN_3162.jpg

For further information:

Shelley Diamond, (416) 913-0429, shelley@diabetescarecommunity.ca

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