Accelerating Best Practices in Peer Support Around the World

Student Blogs


Youth Online Support Preferences

Megan Evans, MSPH

Young people have unique preferences and needs when it comes to getting social support for a health condition. Here’s a snapshot of what we know about those preferences. If you have any lessons learned from your own experience, please share them in the comments below!

Youth desire sites independent from their social media for getting support for illness: Youth access the Internet strategically and differentiate what sites they use to socialize and have fun from those they seek out for support and information about illness. While youth report using social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay connected with family and friends, these sites are likely not the best place to reach them to provide information and support regarding illness, whether mental or physical (Ahola Kohut et al., 2018; Wetterlin, Mar, Neilson, Werker, & Krausz, 2014). Adolescents report preferring to keep their illness private and tend to present themselves as…


Diabetes Education is Only the Start

Sarah Kowitt, MPH


This past week, I was in Orlando, FL for the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) Conference. While the conference was geared towards diabetes education, I was glad to see several sessions that recognized the importance of support for diabetes self-management.

For instance, Marti Funnell, who gave a keynote lecture on one of the most important diabetes studies in the last decade—the DAWN study—stressed that while we may be doing a good job tackling clinical issues in diabetes care, psychosocial issues, such as emotional well-being and support are under-addressed. For example, while 73% of people with diabetes received regular clinical assessments like HbA1c measurements, only 32% reported that they were asked by members of their healthcare team in the past 12 months about being anxious or depressed.1 Most healthcare professionals (63%) even agreed that there is a major need for better availability of resources for the provision…


My Reflections from ADA 2014

Sarah Kowitt, MPH

Two weeks ago marked my second trip to the annual American Diabetes Association conference. Held in San Francisco, the conference brought together experts from around the world to tackle the most pressing issues in diabetes care and research. As a PhD student in Health Behavior, here are my takeaways from the sessions.

Meeting People from Around the World

The ADA conference was attended by approximately 17,300 people from more than 121 countries. Anecdotally, I heard that 40% of the attendees came from outside the United States. With a “World Cup Lounge” set up on the second floor where participants could watch live football matches, this was not hard to believe.

While presenting my poster on emotional support for patients with type 2 diabetes, I struck up conversations with a researcher from Montreal, a health educator from Orlando, a doctor from Nigeria, a diabetologist from Denmark, and a nurse practitioner from China. I also participated in…

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