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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

South Florida Students Represent COPH at ADA’s 78th Scientific Sessions

University of South Florida College of Public Health doctoral candidates Ms. Krys Johnson and Mr. Markku Malmi represented the college at the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) 78th Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Fla from June 22-26.

The ADA’s Scientific Sessions offer researchers and health care professionals an opportunity to share ideas and learn about the significant advances in diabetes research, treatment and care.

Over the course of five days, attendees received exclusive access to more than 2,800 original research presentations, took part in provocative and engaging exchanges with leading diabetes experts, and expanded professional networks with nearly 13,000 professional attendees from around the world.

Dr. Janice Zgibor, associate professor of epidemiology, attended the sessions and authored the research article with Mr. Malmi titled, “Incident Silent Myocardial Infarction among People with Prediabetes—Results from Four Longitudinal Cohort Studies.” Other co-authors included Drs.Wei WangKevin Kip, Douglas Schocken, Amy Alman and Richard Stacey.

More than 30 million people have diabetes and 84 million have prediabetes. Both of these groups are at high risk for heart disease. Their study examined risk factors for silent myocardial infarction (MI). These patients have no symptoms but have the prognosis of someone that had a heart attack.

“Our research may lead to early screening for myocardial infarctions in people with prediabetes so that they may receive the post MI treatment they need,” Dr. Zgibor said.

Ms. Johnson presented her research titled “Impact of Certified Diabetes Educators following Preapproved Protocols on Diabetes Self-Care Behaviors—Results of the REMEDIES 4D Trial.” Co-authors included Mr. Malmi, Dr. Zgibor and Dr. Shihchen Kuo.

Diabetes self-care behaviors play a significant role in controlling risk factors for diabetes-related complications when practiced consistently. Their study objective was to evaluate changes in self-care behaviors in people with type 2 diabetes from primary care practices participating in the REMEDIES 4D study.

REMEDIES 4D was a clustered, randomized trial in which certified diabetes educators implemented standardized treatment protocols to intensify treatment for glucose, lipid or blood pressure control. The intervention group received diabetes self-management education in addition to treatment intensification, while the usual care group participated in monthly support groups for one year.

Their study found that the intervention group achieved their goals six months quicker than the usual care group. This suggests that certified diabetes educators following standardized treatment protocols will improve adherence to recommendations for daily blood glucose testing which may enable patients to maintain better glycemic control.

Ms. Johnson’s presentation objectives were to demonstrate the positive impact of certified diabetes educators on diabetes self-care behaviors and that treatment intensification can increase adherence to match that of the treatment group.

After the Scientific Sessions, Ms. Johnson said she gained insight on how physicians view diabetes and chronic disease. She also found potential partners for her dissertation research.

Dr. Zgibor believes that students need to gain experience in presenting to a variety of audiences early and often.

“The reason this is so important is because as public health professionals, we are often required to communicate research findings of our own or others,” she said. “The best way to gain confidence in this important skill is to do it. Many jobs at the PhD level require ‘job talks’. Presenting in a variety of venues will also help students with this. It can be intimidating to present at a meeting with more than 20,000 attendees, and they were great!”

Story by Caitlin Keough, USF College of Public Health