Letter to the Editor: Who’s to Blame for the Shortage of CDEs?

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Dear Editor,

You are right when you wrote that CDE’s were becoming an endangered species, but were you aware that the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE) is part of the problem?

I earned a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) from UCLA in the late eighties.  Because of the growing public health problem of type 2 diabetes, I decided to become an “expert” in that area. I passed the exam and became a CDE, and I have worked successfully in the field for close to 15 years.  I recently passed my exam for the third time with flying colors.

Here is my concern – the NCBDE has decided to no longer accept an MPH or other master’s level health education degree as meeting their criteria to become a CDE. Anyone who received a degree after 2005 is no longer eligible to sit for the exam.  I have written their board several times addressing the matter, and I have notified the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) of my concerns.  Unfortunately, nothing has changed.  In fact, I dropped my membership with the AADE since they did not appear to support my efforts.  A colleague of mine who is an excellent educator-also with the MPH background-is unable to take the exam even though she graduated prior to 2005. Why? Because the NCBDE also set a 5-year time limit from graduation to the time one applies. She was essentially penalized for taking a break to raise her family.

I would think that both organizations would be doing all they can to grow the field. They should recognize that non-RNs and RDs are quite capable of doing the job and doing it well. There is more than enough to do for everyone. I urge anyone with similar concerns to write to the boards at both the NCBDE and the AADE.

Catherine Goldberg, MPH, CDE
2/6/09

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