Why Language Matters at Mytonomy

By Deborah Greenwood PhD, RN, BC-ADM, CDE, FAADE Chief Digital Research Officer, Diabetes 2015 President, American Association of Diabetes Educators

June 22, 2018

The American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) published language recommendations in 2017 to help change the way we talk to and about people with diabetes. There are four core principles that inform these recommendations:

  • Diabetes is a complex and challenging condition.
  • The entire healthcare team can act more effectively using respectful, inclusive and person-centered approaches.
  • Stigma is associated with a diagnosis of diabetes and may lead to feelings of shame and judgement.
  • Person-first, strengths-based, empowering language can improve the health and well-being of people with diabetes.

At Mytonomy we’ve incorporated these guidelines into our content because we understand and believe that the language we use matters. Words can empower people and support self-management; they can also hurt and make living with a chronic condition more challenging.

As a Certified Diabetes Educator and Past President of AADE I was thrilled to see these principles and recommendations published. One of the reasons working for Mytonomy is exciting for me is because I can see that the content we create helps to decrease the burden of living with a chronic condition and reduce the stigma associated with diabetes.

To continue the conversation, Mytonomy interviewed other CDEs and people living with diabetes, wrote and produced a microlearning video to help people understand these language concepts and encourage healthcare providers to use person-centered, strength-based empowering language when speaking with and about people with diabetes and all chronic conditions.

Jane K. Dickinson, RN, PhD, Program Director/Lecturer, Diabetes Education and Management, Teachers College, Columbia University and person living with type 1 diabetes since 1975, was lead author of the guidelines and featured in the video. She commented, “There is a lot of work to do to change the language around diabetes. I am excited for the Mytonomy video on language and diabetes because it is one more way for us to spread the word about words. My hope is that everyone who sees this video will think about the language they hear, read, and use and then make changes toward more strengths-based, person-centered, and empowering language going forward. Together we can make the world a better place for people with diabetes; the way we talk about diabetes is the first step.”

We thank all of the diabetes educators and advocates who gave generously of their time to help us create this video. Please share our video with others in the diabetes community. You can access the video by clicking the image at the top of the page.

In August, during the AADE Annual Meeting we will release our second language matters video addressing the stigma associated with diabetes and how the diabetes community can help change the conversation.

Mytonomy is a cloud-based platform that empowers, engages, educates and informs patients in order to achieve better health outcomes by helping patients manage what they need to be doing – the patient burden – for their own care, especially of complex conditions.