National health care and social service providers and professionals from West Virginia will hold a forum for diabetes prevention, education and maintenance at West Virginia University Extension Service’s diabetes symposium Oct. 28-30 at the Embassy Suites in Charleston.

“Diabetes Symposium and Workshop—Bridging the Gap with Education 2009” is designed for dentists, dietitians, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, physician assistants, social workers, health educators and other health professionals who work with people who have diabetes and their families.

More than 234,000 individuals in West Virginia have diabetes, according to Cindy Fitch, the WVU Extension nutrition specialist who is organizing the conference.

She said that diabetes is the leading cause of death of adult West Virginians and the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, amputations, pregnancy complications, and deaths related to flu and pneumonia.

Controlling and preventing diabetes, Dr. Fitch said, requires a specialized network of healthcare and social service providers to guide diabetes patients and their families and caregivers.

Once a year, WVU Extension brings experts to West Virginia, she said, to make it easier for the state’s healthcare professionals to improve their skills in helping families manage diabetes and prevent complications.

Pre-conference workshops and symposium sessions provide a broad spectrum of medical, nutritional, and psychosocial presentations addressing practitioners’ current challenges and opportunities in their communities.

Highlights this year include:

• risks and benefits of bariatric surgery for Type 2 diabetes
• Vitamin D and diabetes prevention
• managing gestational diabetes
• foot care and foot wear.

An accredited program, the conference can provide continuing education hours for physicians, physician assistants, nurses, dentists, dietitians, pharmacists, social workers and American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences members.

The symposium is organized by the WVU Extension Service, WVU Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center and the West Virginia Diabetes Prevention and Control Program.

For registration details and other program information, visit the symposium’s Web site ( or contact Judy Cowell at or 304-293-2796, ext. 3599.

fsm 10/15/09
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Ann Bailey Berry
WVU Extension Communications
Office: 304-293-5691