The West Virginia University Extension Service’s diabetes education program has received an award of excellence from the Northeast Cooperative Extension Directors. The program was one of three honored at a recent ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The award recognizes Extension programs that have achieved outstanding results and impacts in addressing contemporary issues. Fourteen programs in the Northeast region were nominated.

Accepting the award for the WVU Extension Diabetes Education Team were three team leaders: Dr. Guen Brown, nutrition and health specialist; Karen Newton, diabetes education program manager; and Ruchi Bhandari, program specialist. They also gave a presentation about their approach to diabetes education.

WVU Extension’s diabetes education program, a two-part comprehensive effort to combat diabetes, includes Dining with Diabetes (DWD) and the Diabetes Symposium and Workshop.

Since 1999, more than 6,000 people in 38 West Virginia counties have participated in DWD ’s free five-class series. DWD targets people with diabetes and their family members. The classes include clinical tests, exercises, food preparation demonstrations, food tasting and other presentations by Extension county agents and local health-care professionals.

According to evaluations, many participants increase their knowledge about the disease, make positive lifestyle changes, and have improved clinical laboratory test results.

The second part of Extension’s diabetes education program is the annual symposium in Charleston. Since 2000, the symposium has attracted approximately 300 participants from 25 states. The participantshealth professionals and county Extension facultylearn the latest research findings on diabetes prevention, care and self-management.