Introducing Emily: a Kovler Summer Intern

Hello, my name is Emily and I have been working here at Kovler for a little over a month and a half now.  Each day when I walk into work, I am astonished at how awesome this institution is and cannot believe I am able to work here.  Coming into this internship, I was very nervous about the types of things I would be doing and the people I was going to be working with.  Not having diabetes myself and with only a small amount of experience, I was nervous yet excited to begin.

Being a Nursing major my understanding of diabetes has mostly come from my textbooks, and the clinicals I have completed.  This pasted spring I worked on a Cardiac-Pulmonary floor and received the opportunity to care for numerous patients with diabetes.  I was able to assist them in managing their blood glucose levels within the hospital in addition to promoting healthy lifestyles once these patients were discharged.  With what felt like an abundance of knowledge I decided to take the opportunity to come work for Kovler.  But little did I know that I would become even more acquainted with diabetes.

Throughout my time here, I have found a deeper respect for patients with diabetes and the care that these patients need.  I also have so much admiration for the doctors working within Kovler, who have made ground-breaking discoveries through their research.  It’s so incredible and interesting!  Lastly, working with the members of Kovler has shed a new light on proving care.  The people here at the Kovler Diabetes Center are so passionate about what they do and it is incredible to see how they can make a difference for each individual they care for, educate, and support.  I hope to do the same in my own career.

While working close with these members, especially Peggy Hasenauer, I have helped to launch two substantial programs for Kovler this summer: Kovler Krew and the Diabetes All-Star Peer-to-Peer Program.  Both new projects have made great progress so far and we are excited to see where they are headed!

Kovler Krew, a volunteer program, provides members of the community a chance to offer their time, support, and knowledge to assist the Kovler Diabetes Center in expanding its community presence, and helping educate and support patients all throughout Chicago.  Volunteers play a large role in the Kovler team and we are very thankful for those that choose to do so.

The second program, Diabetes All-Star Peer-to-Peer Program is a peer-to-peer mentoring program for Kovler patients from the south side of Chicago who have type 2-diabetes. We believe that through this mentorship our patients, who have struggled in the past, will achieve confidence and stability in managing their diabetes and continue to live healthy lifestyles.

Working with these volunteers and patients, I hope to strengthen the Kovler Team and to build the Kovler connection throughout the Chicago-land area. It has been great seeing the progression of these programs so far, and I am eager to see what else the rest of the summer has to offer.


Guest Blog: Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study

I am the Program Coordinator for the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study, a multi-center study which has been ongoing since February 1996.  We ended recruitment in February, 1999.  There are two staff members working on the DPPOS here – myself and Rina DeSandre.  We have worked together since the study’s inception!

Our study is looking at how to prevent diabetes in people at high risk.  It was a very stringent screening process, but finally after three years we finished recruitment and randomized 153 people.  There are three treatment groups now.  One is using the medication metformin, which is currently indicated for treatment of diabetes, one group is the placebo and the other group is intensive lifestyle.  Those in the intensive lifestyle group have a goal to lose 7% of their weight and do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise (like a brisk walk) each week.

Since our study has been going on so long, we actually have some results initially published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2001.  It was found that lifestyle was almost twice as effective (a 58% reduction in risk) at preventing diabetes as taking metformin for prevention. However, the metformin did have a 31% reduction in risk of getting diabetes.

Our participants are quite loyal – with a greater than 90% retention rate.  They see us twice a year now.  We also have classes on a quarterly basis and all are invited and can bring a guest as well.  There are various topics ranging from stress reduction to resistance training to eating a Mediterranean based diet.

We are planning on continuing the study until 2014.  However, we are also in the process of planning for another extension.  We still have many questions to be answered and our participants are also eager to continue. (What a great job I have!)

Thank you,

Margie Matulik
Program Coordinator,  DPPOS

Type 1 
Diabetes Lounge Sponsored by Kovler

On April 28, more than 65 guests and 10 vendors attended the Type 1 
Diabetes Lounge educational luncheon on “Type 1 Diabetes: Innovation in Care and Research” at the Glenview Golf Club. This event is a first of its kind in the North Shore of Chicago targeting adults living with Type 1 diabetes and providing critical education and support on managing diabetes throughout the lifespan.

This event was very well received by the vendors and attendees alike.  Many commented how there is not education like this in the North Shore that specifically targets Type 1 diabetes. Additionally, the intimate setting to hear Amy and Lou speak was a main draw. Kovler Diabetes Center sponsored the event, which included a vendor showcase and presentations by Kovler team members, Lou Philipson, MD, PhD, and Amy
 Hess-Fischl, MS, RD, LDN, BC-ADM, CDE.  Dr. Philipson presented the “Frontiers in Diabetes Research”, and Amy spoke to attendees on diabetes management as well as providing the seminar “Beyond Carb Counting: Advanced Tips & Tools.”

Many attendees were parents of
 teens/adults living with diabetes, as well as many adults with type 1
 diabetes.  Someone drove all the way from Peoria, IL!

The North Shore is a critical outreach area for Kovler (for patient referrals as well as fundraising) and this event was an effective outreach to key stakeholders.  Vendors were thoroughly impressed by attendees including Eli LillyDexComRocheMedtronicBayer, to name a few.

“Kovler Diabetes Center is proud to participate in educational events like this,” said Peggy Hasenauer, MS, RN, Executive Director of Kovler Diabetes Center. “By partnering with a longstanding organization like Type 1 Diabetes Lounge, we are able to provide a broader understanding of current diabetes research and advances, while also providing practical and easy tips that attendees can apply in their everyday lives.”

You can find more pictures from the event on our Facebook page!

Kovler for Kids is Improving Care for Newly Diagnosed Diabetics

I am sure you remember the day your child was diagnosed with diabetes.  You can probably remember the exact date and location where this happened.  You may remember the weeks prior to diagnosis and wondering, “Why is my child so tired?” “Why are they loosing weight?” “Why are they so thirsty and urinating so much?” A diagnosis of diabetes was probably the last thing on your mind.

You may also remember how you felt when the diagnosis was confirmed; perhaps it was disbelief, fear, panic, anger, or all of the above and more. Although nothing can make receiving a diagnosis of diabetes stress free, the team at the Kovler Diabetes Center for Kids are doing all we can to make the process as smooth as possible.

When a child is admitted to Comer Children’s Hospital with a new diagnosis of diabetes, a team of providers become involved in the care.  Heading the team are the Pediatric Endocrinologists and Pediatric Endocrinology Fellows, in collaboration with the Pediatric Medical Service. Other members of the team include Critical and Acute Care Nurses, Certified Diabetes Educators, Registered Dietitians, Pharmacists, Social Workers, and Discharge Planners. We work together to ensure all of the patient’s needs are met during their hospitalization.

Over the past year we have developed an Inpatient Diabetes Multidisciplinary Work Team with the purpose of improving the care we give our kids who are newly diagnosed or admitted for complications related to diabetes.  We have representatives from all of the involved disciplines.

This year, some of the accomplishments of the group include:

  • An admission informational sheet for families, outlining hospital course.
  • An educational PowerPoint for residents.
  • A discharge prescription-ordering sheet for diabetes medication and supplies.
  • An informational take home kit.
  • A 4-hour in-service program for nurses caring for newly diagnosed children.

Ongoing projects we are working on include:

  • A DKA policy revision and standardization for ER, ICU, Gen floor.
  • Standardization of insulin orders.
  • A thorough policy for insulin pump use during hospitalization.
  • Continued improvements in menus to improve carbohydrate-counting clarity, and encourage healthy food choices.

Our goal is to continue to improve the services we provide to our kids and families, so that we can offer the best possible care during this critical time. Hopefully we can make it just a little less stressful for both our patients and their families.

We would love to hear about your experiences and welcome any suggestions and ideas you may have.

Susan McLaughlin, RN, BSN, CDE
Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator

Kovler Joins The Fight to Lower Obesity in Chicago

The soaring rate of childhood obesity is extremely alarming.  For the first time ever, a child’s life expectancy is actually less than their parents due to the medical conditions that can accompany obesity.  According to the CDC, approximately 12.5 million children and adolescents in the U.S. are obese. What is more startling is that pre-teen and teen obesity rates in Illinois actually exceed U.S. levels.  As a dietitian and diabetes educator, I have seen firsthand how prevalent childhood obesity is in Chicago.

Kovler is committed to helping not only our patients but our community to become healthier.  We are proud to be involved with the local organization CLOCC (Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children).  They have been instrumental in promoting change in Chicago to lower the rates of childhood obesity.

Julia Socke of the Kovler Diabetes Center

I recently had the pleasure of attending the CLOCC quarterly meeting last month.  It was such a great experience to be surrounded by so many people that are passionate about reversing this epidemic in Chicago.  Additionally, I was able to learn more about the projects that are currently being led by CLOCC; their 5-4-3-2-1 Go! healthy lifestyle message is a great way to encourage  families to eat healthier and become more active.  They have also partnered with teachers and Chicago Department of Public Health to influence our schools and our city environment.

There is no doubt that the factors contributing to obesity are complex, but working together on a local level will get us closer to finding solutions that work.  We are excited to be involved with this amazing organization to promote healthy changes in our community.

Julia Socke, RD, LDN, CDE
Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator and Outreach Coordinator

Wake Up! It’s Diabetes Alert Day!

Kovler Diabetes Center supports Diabetes Alert Day

Diabetes Alert Day, which is held every fourth Tuesday in March, is a one-day, “wake-up call” asking the American public to take the time to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The Kovler Diabetes Center sees patients from around the world, treating them for every type and form of diabetes.  But Diabetes Alert Day is a great reason to take pause and realize that everywhere around us is someone walking around with diabetes and doesn’t even know it.  Of the nearly 26 million Americans living with diabetes, a quarter – 7 million – has diabetes but is not aware.  Another 79 million American adults have prediabetes, placing them at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Unfortunately, people with type 2 diabetes can live for years without realizing that they have the disease. While people with diabetes can exhibit noticeable symptoms, such as frequent urination, blurred vision and excessive thirst, most people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes do not show these overt warning signs at the time that they develop the disease.  Often, type 2 diabetes only becomes evident when people develop one or more of its serious complications, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye damage, or nerve damage that can lead to amputations.

There are many simple ways to find out if you have or at risk for diabetes.  First and foremost, see your doctor or healthcare provider regularly.  Second, the American Diabetes Association has a simple online Risk Test that can assess your risk factors.  It only takes a few minutes to complete!

Yesterday, one of our certified diabetes educators was invited to join WLS-TV in Chicago for a segment on Diabetes Alert Day. I invite you to watch it to learn more and to get a diabetes-friendly dessert recipe from celebrity chef, Michael Digby!

Many say diabetes is the disease of our lifetime.  Kovler Diabetes Center is here for you, your families and our communities to help you live your best life with diabetes.   Please visit our new website for more resources and information.

Peggy Hasenauer, MS, RN of Kovler Diabetes CenterPeggy Hasenauer, MS, RN
Executive Director
The University of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center


Kovler Welcomes a New Team Member, Recognizes Dietitian Day

Registered Dietitian and CDE, Julia Socke

Julia Socke, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at the Kovler Diabetes Center

It gives me great pleasure to introduce the newest member of the Kovler team, Ms. Julia Socke, RD, LDN, CDE…a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator. It only makes sense to make this introduction on what is also National Nutrition Month AND Registered Dietitian Day, “commemorating the dedication of RDs as advocates for advancing the nutritional status of Americans and people around the world!”

Throughout her career, Julia has worked with patients of all ages with various dietary needs. Her areas of focus include diabetes, adult and pediatric weight management and community nutrition.

“The Kovler Diabetes Center is one of the most well-respected diabetes centers in the Chicagoland area. I feel honored to be a part of such an amazing center. In the short time I’ve been at Kovler, I’ve witnessed firsthand the exceptional teamwork between our physicians, nurses, MAs, coordinators, and Certifed Diabetes Educators that makes Kovler the special place it is, ” said Julia.

As a member of our team, Julia will act as both a diabetes educator and the outreach coordinator, supporting Kovler’s satellite clinics and working with both children and adults to effectively manage their diabetes. Additionally, she will participate in various nutrition and diabetes lectures and events and is a member of both the Chicago Dietetic Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

"Get Your Plate in Shape" with Kovler during National Nutrition MonthJulia also enjoys spending as much time as possible with friends and family.  And as a former athlete, she stays active in organized volleyball leagues and loves trying new restaurants around Chicagoland.

You’ll be hearing from Julia throughout National Nutrition Month and beyond, as she’s an incredible resource for the diabetes community and for our patients.  On behalf of the entire Kovler crew, we welcome Julia to our team!

Peggy Hasenauer, MS, RN
Executive Director
The University of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center

Click here to learn more about our team of educators at the Kovler Diabetes Center.