A Young Woman who turned Her Type 1 Diabetes into Her Career

When were you diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes?

I was 18 and an undergraduate at the University of Washington. I was a member of the women’s rowing team and majoring in public health at the same time I was learning how to manage this new disease.

What have you been doing post-college?a focus on living your life to the fullest with type 1 diabetes

I graduated from the University of Washington one quarter early - though I continued to row for that last quarter. I then went to UNC Chapel Hill where I completed a joint Master of Public Health/Registered Dietitian program. Today I work at Seattle Children’s Hospital as part of a team providing wrap around care and education to children recently diagnosed with diabetes, both type 1 and type 2.

What do you like about your current role at Seattle Children’s? How does it differ from others you’ve had previously?

Working with kids has a different kind of hope to it than working with adults and their different treatment goals. With younger people there is a focus on living your life to the fullest as opposed to just surviving the aftermath of a diagnosis

I am a counselor at heart having spent many summers working at camps for kids with diabetes. That work, and mindset, prepared me well for my current position where I spend a lot of time discussing foods, snacks and feelings with kids. I also provide family-based education helping to navigate sensitive issues like complex family dynamics and food insecurity.

In April 2016 you received two additional diagnoses. What where they?I am still involved with type 1 diabetes clinical research at BRI

Just prior to beginning the interview process for my current job, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. However, during the screening process for Crohn’s it was confirmed that I had a third autoimmune condition – Graves’ disease. Diabetes had literally been my life personally and professionally. So, it’s funny, but these new diagnoses were actually a welcomed distraction. In December 2017 I will celebrate my one year work anniversary as well as one year in remission from Crohn’s.

Are you still staying involved with the clinical research community?

Yes, I am still involved with type 1 diabetes clinical research at BRI. And, with my new diagnosis I have joined the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Registry, too. 

Living With A Disease

November 17, 2017

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