Posted on Jun 3, 2019

Nurse Researcher Talks Diabetes Epidemic at New Lecture Series

Nurse Researcher Talks Diabetes Epidemic at New Lecture Series

The USF College of Nursing’s Alexander and Victoria L. Rich Distinguished Lecture Series kicked off last week with an informational and inspiring talk about the adolescent diabetes epidemic, the challenges teens face in managing the disease, and how nursing research can lead to self-management solutions.

Margaret Grey, DrPH, RN, FAAN, the former dean of the Yale School of Nursing, was the first speaker in the signature lecture series, which was endowed this year by College of Nursing Dean Victoria L. Rich, PhD, RN, FAAN, as a way to remember her late husband.

“I am beyond honored to be the inaugural speaker,” said Dr. Grey to a packed auditorium of about 75 people at the College of Nursing on May 30.

She said she had agreed to come consult on the college’s PhD program and also present a speech, but didn’t realize the importance and significance of the visit until she and Dean Rich, two former academic colleagues, talked over dinner.

During her hour-long speech, Dr. Grey shared insights from decades of research on the behavioral aspects of diabetes in children and self-management of the chronic condition.

Grey said people who live with diabetes have to make day-to-day decisions, and health care providers have to consider the varying lifestyle and environmental factors.

“Most of them have a good reason why they’re not doing the things we think they should be doing, and if we don’t understand that, we will never be able to help them,” she said.

“Self-management has many components. It is not just about preaching the gospel.”

Dr. Grey said that diabetes management in teens is compromised by adolescent development, and as a result, more than 70 percent of youth fail to meet the target glucose monitoring levels.

She urged nurses and nurse educators to “think beyond the almighty HbA1c” levels.

“This is a science that is evolving, from one with a very simplistic approach to a much more complex approach, and I believe these approaches have the potential to transform public health. Diabetes is an epidemic. It’s an epidemic around the world. And it’s nurses who are going to help fix this,” she said.

Dr. Grey was the ninth dean of the Yale School of Nursing and is the Annie Goodrich Professor. She has been the principal investigator for grants totaling more than $45 million and is the author of 390 journal articles, chapters, and abstracts.

Dr. Rich established the lecture series as a way to honor her late husband’s academic career in psychology and their shared commitment to the health sciences and research.

Alexander R. Rich, PhD, who was a retired Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, died in April 2018 after a 25-year struggle with cancer. The two were married for 35 years.

Story by Elizabeth L. Brown, USF College of Nursing