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New Ohio University academic program will target diabetes care

The undergraduate certificate will address a growing national health issue

Responding to escalating rates of diabetes in Appalachia and nationwide, Ohio University will begin offering an undergraduate certificate this fall that focuses on the disease and its management.

The interdisciplinary Diabetes Certificate will include three core courses: an online offering that explores legal and medical issues; a clinical component that exposes students to trends in treating the disease; and a capstone course that emphasizes research, clinical or service-learning experience. The 17-credit certificate will offer electives that delve into topics such as genetics, nutrition, underserved populations and aging.

As many as 1 in 3 U.S. adults could have diabetes by 2050 if current trends continue, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Type 2 diabetes, in which the body loses its ability to use and produce insulin, accounts for most of these cases. Risk factors include older age, obesity, family history, having diabetes while pregnant, a sedentary lifestyle and ethnicity.

Diabetes-related problems are especially acute in the Appalachian region that includes southeast Ohio, where studies have shown disproportionately high levels of the disease and a lack of access to health care. The disease is also a growing concern in many areas of the United States and around the world.

“The new Diabetes Certificate represents one more attempt by our college to expose students to issues of concern among underserved populations. As diabetes rates continue to grow, this certificate program will lead to a growing number of professionals who understand the disease and its treatments, said Randy Leite, dean of the College of Health Sciences and Professions, which is offering the certificate.

Much of the startup funding for the program was provided by a 2011 grant from Ohio University’s 1804 Fund, which fosters innovation and collaboration across disciplines.

For more information about the program, go online to:
http://www.ohio.edu/diabetes/certificate.html or contact program coordinator Darlene Berryman at (740) 593-9943 or berrymad@ohio.edu.