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"The Faces of Diabetes" show to air on Dartmouth Community Television

UMass Dartmouth nursing student from Walpole creates educational program

Residents in Dartmouth and neighboring communities will hear the first hand experiences of people with diabetes thanks to an innovative program called "The Faces of Diabetes" developed by UMass Dartmouth Nursing Student Jessica Parish.

Parish, a Walpole resident, created the half-hour TV segment to air on Dartmouth Community Television (DCTV) as her senior community nursing project. She was assisted by Wendy Henderson, Dartmouth's public health director, Cynthia Marland, DCTV's director, and Katherine Howard, UMass Dartmouth's nursing instructor.

"Diabetes is a huge problem in this area," Parish said. "I wanted to get the message out about what it is, who is at risk and how to take care of it and cope with the disease. I could have offered a lecture, but then I thought `who would come?' Doing this (TV) program was the most widespread route to reach people."

"Jessica chose a unique avenue, a different way to express creativity," Howard said. "A nurse's job involves helping people cope and listening to your clients. They are the experts of their diseases. When people watch this show, they'll see the subjects tell the story...and that's what gives it such impact."

Parish interviewed three Dartmouth residents: the mother of a middle school student, a police officer and a senior citizen in her 80's.  The individuals talk about their personal experiences living with the disease. Bulleted printed information about symptoms, warning signs, helpful tips and more is interspersed on screen with the interviews.

Henderson said the topic is relevant to Dartmouth, which has a growing number of diabetics of all ages, including school children. "This (project) is a very useful way to raise awareness and bring this community concern to the forefront. It shows that diabetes can happen to anyone and documents the effectiveness of behavioral interventions."

Next semester, the program's ratings will be tracked and reviewed and Parish will develop a brochure and write a report on diabetes. Marland is open to having other UMass Dartmouth nursing students choose different medical topics for future programs.

She plans to make the tape available to community TV stations in Westport, New Bedford and other nearby towns.

"DCTV is all about informing and educating the public," Marland said. "Diabetes is a major health issue in the Southcoast and Jessica's program is a great forum to get the word out. She's put unbelievable effort into this. The station fully supports projects beyond sports and meetings and is excited by this opportunity and continuing its partnership with UMass Dartmouth."

Dartmouth residents can access DCTV on channel 18. "The Faces of Diabetes" will air numerous times in December.

Author:  "John Hoey"
Date:  03-Dec-2007
Department:   College of Nursing

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