What you should know about the College Diabetes Network
The College Diabetes Network has 115 chapters across the United States, including two in Southwest Ohio and five others within about 125 miles of Greater Cincinnati.
According to national operations and communications manager Sarah Twomey-Mercurio, chapters average between seven and 10 members.
Christina Roth, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a teenager, founded the group in 2009 while in college. The group became a 501c3 non-profit in 2010 and a full-time organization in 2012.
The College Diabetes Network lists three pillars of programming on its website, www.collegediabetesnetwork.org: tools, network and ecosystem. Its main goal is to connect college students who have Type 1 with each other.
Mercurio answers a series of question about the College Diabetes Network:
How many chapters are there in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio? Where are they?
Indiana has five chapters: Indiana University; Dia-Beat-It at Purdue University, Ball State University, Wabash College, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.
Kentucky has one chapter: Big Blue Chapter at the University of Kentucky.
Ohio has six chapters:
DOSES CDN chapter at The Ohio State University (Athens campus), Ohio State University CDN Chapter Miami University, Bowling Green State University, University of Cincinnati,
University of Toledo.
What is the process for organizing a chapter? What kind of support does the national group offer? Is there any type of funding involved?
The process for starting a chapter is very similar to starting any other kind of interest group on a college campus. Interested students fill out a form on our website, we get in touch with them and schedule a 1-1 phone call to walk through some strategies for success and to help them find members. We are always available for personal support and we offer a suite of digital resources to help with developing leadership skills, meeting and event planning, outreach, and more. They also receive an outreach kit containing a CDN banner, T-shirts, and other promotional items free of charge each year. Chapters can earn a $50 stipend from CDN each semester and have the opportunity to apply for up to $500 in grant funding each year.
What are the biggest challenges/questions facing Type 1 diabetes college students? How does the College Diabetes Network help?
Some of the biggest challenges facing college students with Type 1 diabetes in college are feeling alone and unsupported, professors and peers not understanding what T1D is or its implications, and access to proper care at health/mental health/disabilities service centers on campus.
Through our 115 Chapters nationwide (and growing), we work to connect students on campuses through chapters where they can feel supported, understood and heard. By having other people who “get it”, these students feel less isolated and know they have a support network to fall back on. Students with T1D who have peer support in the form of Chapters have better health outcomes and do better in school.
CDN also offers countless resources from students’ rights to accommodations on campus, in the classroom, in the dorms, at work/internships, and beyond. We help them navigate the process of seeking accommodations so they are able to thrive in the classroom and on campus like their non-T1D peers.
What should Type 1 diabetic college students and their families know as they prepare for college? What is the best advice you can give them?
T1D students and families should know that T1D students can, and do, thrive in college. The transition from a support system at home to a place where nobody knows about their needs can be an adjustment, but with the right support system and preparedness, it is entirely possible. Every student with T1D and their parents should read our Off to College Booklets, where we cover all the bases of the transition to college and offer tips, tricks, resources, and advice. We have a booklet for parents and one for students!
For more information, visit www.collegediabetesnetwork.org.