Diabetes Awareness Month 2023: Ways to Participate as a Healthcare Provider

diabetes awareness month

Every November, providers, patients, and healthcare organizations recognize Diabetes Awareness Month (also known as National Diabetes Month). It’s more important than ever to spread awareness about the disease, preventative measures, and treatment options. The prevalence of diabetes in adults has tripled in the last 30 years. Diabetes leads to a host of other chronic conditions, like heart disease and kidney issues, and it’s the leading cause of preventable blindness in adults. More than 96 million American adults have prediabetes, but eight in ten don’t know it.



Preventing diabetes and reducing its impact is possible. But patients must be educated to make the right decisions for their health. Diabetes Awareness Month is a great opportunity to provide diabetics and those at risk of the disease with information and access to the right resources. Here’s what you can do to contribute to diabetes awareness and improve patient outcomes. 

What is Diabetes Awareness Month?

Diabetes Awareness Month was established in 1975. However, congress and U.S. presidents didn’t start actually proclaiming November as Diabetes Awareness Month until the early 1980s. “American Diabetes Month” was officially trademarked by the American Diabetes Association back in 1997.

During Diabetes Awareness Month, various healthcare and wellness organizations launch promotional campaigns, hold events, and partner together to show support for the diabetes community. Some initiatives focus on prevention and testing for prediabetes among at-risk populations, while others offer support and disease management resources for people living with the disease.   

The Impact of Diabetes in America

The need for these preventative testing measures and disease management resources during Diabetes Awareness Month is due to the consequential effects of diabetes.

Almost 100 million Americans have prediabetes. When diabetes develops, it can lead to kidney failure, heart disease, nerve damage, vision loss, and a plethora of other health complications. Here are some stats that convey the overall impact of diabetes in the United States.

As such, events like National Diabetes Month have been created in an effort to diminish the negative effects of diabetes. In addition, they’re there to help improve diabetes education and awareness all around.

The Impact of Diabetes Education and Awareness

For people living with diabetes, understanding how to self-manage the disease is the key to improving outcomes. Ultimately, patients spend most of their time managing their own care and making daily decisions that will impact their long-term health. Diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) programs are proven to help patients in a number of ways:

  • Reduce the onset and/or worsening of diabetes-related complications.
  • Reduce of all-cause mortality.
  • Improve quality of life and promote lifestyle behaviors including healthful meal planning and engagement in regular physical activity.
  • Improve patient self-efficacy, empowerment, and healthy coping, while decreasing diabetes-related distress.

Prevention is also a key cornerstone of Diabetes Awareness Month, and recent campaigns have been effective in reaching those at risk. The American Medical Association, CDC, and the Ad Council teamed up to create public service announcements to promote awareness of the prevalence of prediabetes. So far, the Do I Have Prediabetes? campaign has resulted in more than two million people taking an online prediabetes assessment and an uptick in the number of adults seeking information about it. 

How Providers Can Promote Diabetes Awareness

As industry organizations spread awareness among the public, providers and payers can connect people with information and care. During National Diabetes Month, there are several ways to get involved. Whether you want to bolster your diabetes education, train your team on the latest protocols, or participate in community outreach, there’s something for you. 

  1. Use the American Diabetes Association’s American Diabetes Month toolkit to show your support on social media. 
  2. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #DiabetesAwarenessMonth, #NDAM, and #KnowYourNumbers to track the conversation and contribute to it. 
  3. Share the National Diabetes Awareness Month flyer and social media posts to provide tips for preventing diabetes-related health problems.
  4. World Diabetes Day, hosted by the International Diabetes Foundation, offers several ways to participate, including educational courses, surveys on diabetes education, and awareness materials that can be posted in local communities. 
  5. Local nonprofits, faith organizations, and government leaders host health fairs and awareness events that you can sponsor or participate in.

Promote Awareness and Access to Care Every Day

Diabetes prevention and treatment methodologies have evolved significantly, but there’s still a care gap for too many people. For example, when providers fall short of HEDIS diabetic care measures, it’s often caused by a lack of patient access and awareness of proper care.

Diabetes Awareness Month can be a good time to take stock of your services and capabilities to see how you can promote better prevention, self-management, and compliance year-round. These resources can help you make long-term changes in the way you approach patients with diabetes and those at risk:

  1. Locate the diabetes prevention program near you via the CDC’s program finder.
  2. Access the CDC’s Diabetes Prevention Impact Toolkit, which includes interactive resources for promoting actionable type II diabetes plans.
  3. For pharmacists, the Action Guide for Community Pharmacists helps you reach people at high risk of developing diabetes.

Close Patient Care Gaps

You can also invest in strategies that close patient care gaps. One of the most devastating, and entirely preventable, diabetes-related complications is diabetic retinopathy, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults in the U.S. Through yearly retinal eye exams, patients can be monitored for retinopathy before it begins to threaten their vision. 

However, many patients fail to get these yearly exams, often because they don’t understand why they’re needed or how they differ from a vision exam for glasses. On top of poor awareness, access issues such as cost and travel time, prevent patients from getting this sight-saving care.  

New advances in retinal imaging allow a wider range of providers to offer diabetic retinopathy screenings. IRIS is a teleretinal imaging solution that can be used to quickly perform screenings without always having to dilate the patient’s pupil. The image is then sent to the IRIS Reading Center (IRC), a network of licensed eye care providers, who review it and provide their diagnosis directly on the patient record. Because it seamlessly integrates into existing EMR processes, IRIS is helping providers improve quality measures without disrupting current workflows.

The IRIS solution is also well-suited to outreach efforts, whether your organization is trying to develop more outreach during Diabetes Awareness Month or any other time of year. With handheld cameras, you can perform exams at health fairs, community events, or even in the homes of patients. By bringing care directly to those who need it and meeting patients where they are, you can help close care gaps and spread awareness of the impact of diabetic retinopathy.

To learn more about how IRIS helps you improve awareness and access to diabetes management while closing care gaps, schedule a consultation with us. 


Diabetes Awareness Month FAQs:

What Is the Color for Diabetes Awareness Month?

The blue circle is the official symbol of Diabetes Awareness Month. The blue circle was designated by the United Nations in 2006 as part of its Resolution on Diabetes. 

What Is National Diabetes Day?

National Diabetes Day (celebrated globally as World Diabetes Day), held every year on November 14th, was created by the International Diabetes Foundation and the World Health Organization. Each year, the public health community comes together to spread awareness about diabetes and offers support to those living with the disease. 

Is There a National Type 1 Diabetes Day?

There is no day designated for Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is recognized as part of the diabetes awareness events throughout the month of November.




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