AADE Rolls Out New Name for Diabetes Educators to Better Reflect Care Team Roles

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By : Suvarna Sheth

One of the exciting changes announced at this year’s AADE conference is the repositioning of the diabetes educator title.

Karen Kemmis, PT, DPT, RN, MS, GCS, CDE, CEEAA, FAADE, and AADE president made the announcement during the opening presentation of the conference.

The new title will roll out in 2020 under the name “Diabetes Care and Education Specialist.”

dLife caught up with Kemmis to find out more about the repositioning, and what the shift means for educators, as well as patients.

Here’s what she had to say:

How does the new name for diabetes educators more accurately reflect what CDEs do?

Just to clarify, the certified diabetes educator (CDE) credential is managed and administered by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators.

At this point in time, the CDE credential has not changed.

What AADE is doing is repositioning the specialty of diabetes education for success by now referring to ‘diabetes educators’ as ‘diabetes care and education specialists.’

The new title bridges both the clinical and self-management aspects of the specialty to better position diabetes care and education specialists as critical members of the diabetes care team.

Do you think the name change will prompt more people to seek help from diabetes care and education specialists?


We hope that by calling ourselves by a name that is a more accurate reflection of what we do and our level of service (specialist) then more people with diabetes will be inclined to take advantage of our services, payers will better understand the service, and providers will be more likely to refer people with diabetes to us.

Throughout the research process, we involved a variety of people with diabetes and provider groups and associations, as well as polls and focus groups of AADE members, to see if a name change made sense and what that might look like.

Across the board, the answer was diabetes care and education specialist (DCES).

What will the acronym for the title be?

DCES – Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. To clarify, DCES is not a credential like CDE. It is a job title or description of a person’s work in diabetes care.

What course work and education does one go through to become a CDE/ diabetes care and education specialist?

Qualifications for the CDE credential can be found on the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators website (NCBDE.org).

Diabetes care and education specialists (DCES) is the general term for anyone working in diabetes, prediabetes and cardiometabolic care – so requirements are dependent on the person’s license (for example, RN, RD, PharmD) and job description.

Many are also lay health professionals such as community healthcare workers.

AADE provides education to help those working as DCES level up their skills and build their resumes through certificates and course work.

Our goal is for all DCES to work at the top of their practice.

Any other thoughts/comments you’d like to share with our audience?

AADE began looking at the diabetes educator title as part of a multi-year, multi-stakeholder initiative called Project Vision with the goal of improving the lives of people with diabetes, prediabetes, and cardiometabolic conditions through the integration of clinical management, education, prevention, and support.

Through extensive research and stakeholder outreach, it was determined that the term diabetes educator did not encapsulate all that the specialty does for people with or at risk for diabetes, the larger healthcare system, payers and providers.

AADE previewed the new name with members at the 2019 AADE Annual Conference and will continue to work with key partners to build the necessary infrastructure to officially roll out the new name, as well as an AADE rebranding, in January.