Healthcare professionals from around the state will learn the latest news about diabetes prevention and management from nationally known experts during the annual Diabetes Symposium and Workshop Oct. 20-22 at the Embassy Suites in Charleston.

Organized by the West Virginia University Extension Service, the symposium gives nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, physicians, West Virginia University Extension educators and others who work in the health field a chance to gain valuable insight on diabetes.

Now in its 10th year, the forum’s three days of workshops and activities will explore physical and psychological issues of diabetes for families, school personnel, and public health professionals and volunteers.

Speakers include Abhimanyu Garg, M.D., of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and Adewale Troutman, M.D., of Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness.

Garg will explain the risks and benefits of bariatric surgery for people with diabetes, and Troutman will describe how new breakthroughs in community public health techniques are making a difference for citizens.

WVU professor Guy Hornsby, Ph.D., will show how exercise can play a big role in the war on diabetes.

Cindy Fitch, director of WVU Extension Families and Health Programs and chair of the Diabetes Symposium, said countless people will benefit from the symposium because of the valuable information their healthcare professionals will receive at the symposium.

“The health professionals who attend usually come from West Virginia and the surrounding states, and they are people who provide care and education for local people with diabetes and their families,” she said. “They will be learning state-of-the-art information from the best scientists in the field, which will help them provide the best care possible.”

Fitch said she is particularly interested in the presentation by Marion J. Franz of Nutrition Concepts by Franz Inc. Franz, Fitch believes, gives “practical, down-to-earth advice” on dietary management.

Workshops held during the symposium will give people hands-on experience with new equipment and procedures that are being used to help treat diabetes. An expo, scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 20, will feature vendors and companies promoting new equipment and services.

Wednesday evening will also provide poster presentations by some West Virginia-based healthcare professionals who will speak about the work they are doing, giving attendees an opportunity to learn from their peers and colleagues.

The morning activities of Thursday, Oct. 21, will be devoted to children, those with diabetes and also those at risk for developing the disease. Sessions will include presentations about handling diabetic emergencies in schools and managing the transition to adulthood with diabetes.

“For people who work with kids of all ages, that day is going to be very important,” Fitch said.

According to Fitch, those who attend the symposium each year often leave with a different outlook on diabetic care. Often, people decide to try the new methods of treatment and prevention they learn about at the conference, ensuring that up-to-date procedures are used around the state to treat the disease.

“Last year I was very impressed by the number of people who indicated there was a change they were going to make after hearing speakers at the symposium,” Fitch said. “We try to make it very practical and give suggestions anyone can use.”

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

For details about registration, professional continuing education credits and additional
symposium sessions, visit the WVU Extension website at



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Cindy Fitch
WVU Extension Families & Health Programs
Office: 304-293-2796