Editor's Note: Dr. Johnson is the executive director of the Bringing Science Home program at USF Health and has served as a diabetes advocate since she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1993.
Bringing Science Home (BSH) is completing its 7th year of investing in diabetes with the purpose of helping people touched by the disease live positive, high-quality lives surrounded by helpful support and relevant clinical care.
In the 7-year journey, BSH has diligently engaged in research to understand the struggles of those living with diabetes, program development to meet the needs expressed by people with diabetes, and training to equip the diabetes workforce to better help individuals with the disease. Our efforts have yielded incredible results. We created two psychology scales that measure distress in family members of people with diabetes, we created national networks of patient populations, we became leaders in diabetes prevention nationally, and we created a unique training program for psychologists to better serve the diabetes community. All of these were undergirded by research, and all have resulted in positive change in the overall diabetes landscape.
Our psychological scales and the accompanying clinical guide books are distributed nationally with the help of community partners. Our consumer education publications have been in clinical offices, diabetes camps, and non-profit organization offices nationally, and our two books are available through Amazon!
The community organizations created by BSH now operate independently on a national scale – Students With Diabetes and Diabetes Partners. These programs serve hundreds of individuals each year. The trickle-down effect is individuals with diabetes finding peace and support, and then paying it forward as they help others or seek employment in the diabetes community to further follow their passion.
The psychologists trained through our program are all working professionally in diabetes across the nation. We increased the number of psychologists with specific diabetes training and expertise by approximately 20% through our program and have partnered with JDRF and the Diabetes Empowerment Foundation to continue this effort in the future. Continuing efforts in training psychology professionals to understand individuals with diabetes is one of the biggest ways the legacy of BSH will last.
All of these victories translate into scores of lives improved and changed by BSH. The BSH team is grateful to The Patterson Foundation for their support, guidance, and encouragement. The foundational gift built the structure of the powerful programs above. That structure will now continue to serve the diabetes community through both the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and the Diabetes Empowerment Foundation.