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Mapping a plan to take control of your diabetes

Conversation Maps® are being used by UMass DCOE educators as a tool to teach diabetes self-management

Date Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2019

The UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence offers an extensive self-management education program covering a wide variety of topics.  Our program is recognized by the American Diabetes Association in accordance with the National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Education Programs.  It is designed to provide information, motivation, and support.  We are now utilizing Conversation Maps® as part of our diabetes education to help people make lifestyle changes such as nutrition, taking medication, staying physically active, and more. 

What are Diabetes Conversation Maps?

Conversation Maps® are designed to promote interactive discussion in a small group setting of people living with diabetes.  Each map addresses a different topic area to assist with self-management of the disease. 

”The visual aspect of the Conversation Maps® has been found to encourage interaction among those attending our workshops . Participants are benefiting from the experiences of others, and realize that they are not alone,” said Cheryl Barry, RN, MS, CDE, Manager of Adult Diabetes Education at the UMass Memorial Diabetes Center of Excellence. “Use of these maps helps to empower the person to take control of their diabetes through self-management."


Lowering A1c with Diabetes Education

Diabetes education has been shown to lower A1c by as much as 1% (similar to adding a medication but without the side effects).  Research shows that people who have received diabetes education are more likely to utilize primary care and preventative services, take medications as prescribed and control their blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  As a result, those people have lower health costs.

The American Diabetes Association and American Association of Diabetes Educators recommend at least 10 hours of diabetes education.  Medicare benefits include 10 hours of initial education as well as 2 hours yearly follow-up.  Commercial insurance offer similar benefits.  More than half of the nearly 30 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes have not taken advantage of the benefits of diabetes education.

Register for our Diabetes Education Workshops

Your physician or diabetes care team can provide a referral for either a group education workshop or a one-on-one education appointment.  For more information about the Diabetes Education Program at the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence, email: or call (508) 334-3206.

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