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Diabetes Education Offers Many Benefits

Benefits of meeting with a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

Diabetes education has been shown to lower A1c and blood glucose similar to medication but without side effects.  Many research studies have shown that people who received diabetes education are more likely to utilize primary care and preventative services, take medications as prescribed, and control their blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. As a result, those people reportedly have lower health costs.

Diabetes education misconceptions

Many people think they'll have a “one and done” visit with a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) or Registered Dietitian (RD). However, it's an ongoing relationship. As “life happens” and circumstances change, a CDCES is available to help create a plan to successfully self-manage your diabetes. They'll assist with situational problem solving and offer emotional support.

Where to begin

Anyone newly diagnosed with diabetes or has never received diabetes education should take advantage of our Diabetes 101 workshop. For best results, combine group workshops and individual sessions with a CDCES, RD, and/or nutritionist. Your primary care physician and/or diabetes care team can provide a referral or more information. The initial assessment will determine which areas to focus on when developing your individual diabetes self-management success plan.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) and Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists (ADCES) recommend at least 10 hours of diabetes education. More than half of people diagnosed with diabetes have not taken advantage of the benefits of diabetes education.

Questions? Email or call (508) 334-3206. 

What to expect during your initial visit

Your initial assessment by a CDCES will concentrate on seven self-care behaviors that are essential for improved health and greater quality of life for people living with diabetes. Healthy eating, physical activity, glucose monitoring (blood or sensor), medication, problem-solving/healthy coping and reducing risk of complications. The use of patient generated health data from glucose monitoring is encouraged to help with problem solving, coping and risk reduction. Your personalized plan will provide information, resources and tools to successfully self-manage diabetes based on your lifestyle, commitments and activities.

Insurance coverage for diabetes education

Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover up to 10 hours of diabetes education during the first year of diagnosis. Medicare also pays for 2 hours of yearly follow-up. Commercial insurance offers similar benefits. Contact your insurance provider for specific coverage information.

How often should you meet with a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist?

  • After an initial diagnosis of diabetes, a one-on-one CDCES appointment or education workshop provides valuable information, resources and tools. It's recommended to schedule an annual visit to assess where you are.
  • A CDCES can be helpful during life transitions (moving from pediatric care to adult care, leaving for college, living on your own for the first time, pregnancy, etc.)
  • When experiencing a new health complication (eye disease, nerve damage, dexterity issues, emotional health, etc.)

Care Team Spotlight: Cheryl Barry, RN, MS, CDCES


Manager, Adult Diabetes Education Program

- BA in Nursing from Beloit College in Wisconsin
- BS in Nursing from Rush University in Chicago
- Master’s in Parent & Child Nursing from Rush University

As an undergraduate, Cheryl worked for a summer at the Joslin Camp for boys with diabetes in Charlton, MA. That was where she fell in love with the idea of helping people living with diabetes. 

Cheryl is married with two children. Her husband’s job has moved them around, resulting in her working and helping people with diabetes at:

  • University of Chicago Diabetes Research and Training Center - Pediatrics Unit
  • Children’s Hospital in Seattle, WA – Diabetes and Endocrinology
  • Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston – Director of Adult Education
  • Southern New Hampshire Medical Center

- Their third rescue dog, Hobey, is named after the college hockey Hobey Baker Memorial Award  
- Cheryl and her husband are big fans of Boston College hockey
- Her biggest passions are spending time with family and helping people manage diabetes
- She loves to read, and particularly enjoyed the Harry Potter series
- Favorite TV Show: Jeopardy (her daughter was a contestant in 2019)