Health care professionals from West Virginia and surrounding states will learn about the latest advances in diabetes prevention and management Oct. 19-21 during West Virginia University’s 11th annual Diabetes and Symposium Workshop at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Charleston.

Organized by the WVU Extension Service, the nationally recognized conference features 13 diabetes-centered workshops led by expert researchers and practitioners who will explore the physical and psychological issues diabetes creates among families, school personnel and health professionals.

“Diabetes is a public health crisis,” according to Cindy Fitch, Ph.D., the symposium’s chair and a WVU Extension professor.

“There is a critical need for healthcare professionals and community-based educators who are well-prepared to provide outreach and service in the rural areas of West Virginia and the surrounding areas of Appalachia,” she said.

Under the theme of Bridging the Gap with Education, Fitch said the symposium “provides an important service by providing information on cutting–edge advances in diabetes care and prevention from some of the most accomplished scientists in the field.”

Besides leaving the conference with the newest research and techniques related to diabetes care, many participants—such as physicians, physician assistants, nurses, dentists and social workers—also will carry newly earned continuing education credits in their respective fields.

The symposium will begin on Wednesday, Oct. 29, with diverse presentations about protocols and clinical trials.

Among the first presenters will be Mary Emmett, Ph.D., director of the Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research at the Charleston Area Medical Center. Emmett will discuss the prevalence and impact of health literacy on health and how to conduct a health literacy assessment.

WVU School of Medicine’s Timothy Jackson, M.D., will explain new and future therapeutics for diabetes patients.

“Weight Management and Dysglycemia: the What, When and How” will be the issue explored by Hope Warshaw, R.D., an author and diabetes educator from Alexandria, Va. After explaining the key behavioral and nutritional factors associated with successful weight loss in those with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, Warshaw will focus on three tools practitioners can implement to help clients more successfully improve their weight control.

Wednesday evening during the Gala Reception participants will interact with vendors who will share their latest products and services for diabetes management.

Thursday’s expert speakers include Fitch, a registered dietitian and the director of WVU Extension Service’s Families and Health Programs; Steven H. Woolf, M.D., of Virginia Commonwealth University; and Patricia Dietz, D.P.H., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fitch will present information about nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners and their health implications.

Woolf, also associate editor of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, will describe the magnitude of health disparities in the United States, the role that social determinants play on health and the importance of communities’ policies in averting disease and deaths.

Dietz will explain diabetes prevention strategies before and after pregnancy.

Using personal computers and telephones to support diabetes self-management will be among the topics on Friday, the conference’s final day.

Supported by her primary research, Kathleen McTigue, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, will explain the advantages of and approaches for “adapting counseling practices to the online setting.”

Elizabeth Walker, Ph.D., of New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, will share the results of her investigation into using “telephonic interventions in Spanish and English to promote medication adherence, lifestyle change and other self-management behaviors.”

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

For more information on the conference, including registration, professional continuing education credits and the complete schedule of workshops and sessions, visit the website at



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CONTACT: Ann Bailey Berry, WVU Extension Service