Michelle L. Litchman Focuses on Diabetes Program Accessibility for People Who Are Deaf

This content originally appeared on Beyond Type 1. Republished with permission.

By Kayla Hui, MPH

Michelle L. Litchman, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, FADCES, assistant professor at the college of nursing at the University of Utah and medical director for Diabetes One-Day Education and Care Program at the Utah Diabetes of Endocrinology Center, was selected as a Betty Irene Moore Nurse Fellow. The fellowship is designed to develop nurse leaders and innovators who are making an impact in health care. Each fellow receives $450,000 over their fellowship tenure, including an extra $50,000 for their home institution. For Dr. Litchman, her project will focus on diabetes program accessibility for people who are deaf.

“This is really important to me because I have six family members who are deaf, including my mom. And so I’ve actually witnessed how some deaf people don’t receive the health care that they need,” Litchman tells Beyond Type 1.

Having type 2 diabetes is associated with a higher risk for hearing loss, according to a 2019 research study. For folks with pre-diabetes with blood glucose levels higher than normal, there was an associated 30 percent rate of hearing loss compared to individuals with normal blood sugar.

Barriers to Diabetes Program Accessibility

Litchman says that one of the challenges of current programs is that sign language interpreters are not always offered or available. She adds that when interpreters are available or offered, they are not always certified in communicating health information. “You need a medical interpreter, having someone that’s certified and also really knowledgeable about the medical terminology and space,” Litchman says.

Coupled with not having sign language interpreters available in the healthcare setting, Litchman stresses that health information is not always communicated in the language spoken by the patient who is deaf. “In a situation where there’s somebody who is deaf, you have to be providing that information directly to that person in their primary language,” Litchman explains. “There’s an assumption that people who are deaf also know English. For many, their primary language is actually sign language.”

Over the next three years, Litchman will design diabetes programs with language in mind and a focus on language deprivation–when children are not exposed to sufficient linguistic stimuli during the critical periods of language acquisition. According to Litchman, some parents do not teach their children sign language. “If they’re not taught sign language, they’re relying on reading lips. It actually deprives them of a lot of language, reading lips [has] only about 30 to 40 percent accuracy.”

Research shows that patients who are deaf or hard of hearing experienced poorer direct child-caregiver communication. Continuous exclusion from family communication was associated with a higher risk for chronic health outcomes.

“People may have home sign language, American sign language, reading lips, relying on captions,” Litchman says. Because the language used varies for each person, Litchman will leverage language deprivation research to inform her diabetes programming. “My work has some peer support threads. So I am hoping when we do these sessions, there’ll be group sessions where they can lean on one another for tips and tricks on how to make things work in their life,” Litchman explains. “I think a lot of us hope to improve outcomes related to diabetes, helping people feel like they can self manage, have the information, feel like they also have a group of people that they can lean on,” Litchman shares.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Spotlight on Artists: Expressing Life with Diabetes Through Art

By Lauren Ziminsky

The Myabetic Diabetes Art Show, presented by Medtronic, is a virtual gallery event airing exclusively on Myabetic Diabetes TV on July 17th at 5PM Pacific Time/8PM Eastern Time. Hosted by Michelle Hale (@globaldiabetic), this event will spotlight 16 talented artists from around the world who express their unique experiences and emotions of living with diabetes through art.

Featured artists include:

Ana Morales (@anamoralesart) Virginia, United States

“I create diabetes art as a way to practice mindfulness and to process and cope with the challenges of living with a chronic illness. I also do it to advocate for diabetes awareness and access to insulin for all.”

Dana Swann (@glucose101) New York, United States

“This is my way of showing others it’s okay to have a difference, to have a disability, and to share it. When we are transparent, then we can find connection, and when we connect, we can appreciate each other and build respectful relationships with all kinds of people.”

Channy Blott (@silentchanny) Alberta, Canada

“As a deaf artist, I would often represent sign language or deaf issues. However, whenever I see stereotypical diabetes images and jokes, I’m sad knowing the illness is underrepresented. While many fantastic deaf artists exist, I feel most comfortable and motivated to visualize diabetes, knowing my art will make people’s day.”

David Mina (@type1livabetic) California, United States

“I create diabetes art because that is my creative outlet for living with diabetes daily. Ever since I was a kid, I have always loved art and design, so when I was diagnosed with diabetes, I applied my feelings towards this disease into my art and design work.”

Filipe Miguel (@filipemiguelart) Massachusetts, United States

“Creating works about diabetes has helped open conversations that raise awareness and dispel myths.”

Diababe Life (@diababelife) Ohio, United States

“It’s difficult to describe what it’s like to live with diabetes. Art is how I share my personal experience and try to connect with the community.”

Gina Pillina (@gina.pillina) Puebla, Mexico

“I used to be angry at my diabetes, then I found out I could tell what I felt through drawings. What I like to do is to inform people about type 1 diabetes but in a funny way. Making people laugh helps better to understand and to remember important facts.”

Vibhati Sharma Ontario, Canada

“Creating art on diabetes helps me channelize my fear and frustration of living with chronic disease. However, I do want to create art to educate the community about type 1 diabetes. I was diagnosed in India, there is no proper education and awareness which makes it difficult to live with this condition.”

Jenna Cantamessa (@typeonevibes) Queensland, Australia

“Diabetes is portrayed as a ‘bad’ disease in our society and it’s so important to make something beautiful of it for those living with it. When people tell me that they have hung my art on their wall because it motivates them every day – it gives me a purpose. If my art can help one person a day, whether it is to make them laugh smile or just get them through another day knowing they’re not alone, I will keep making diabetes art.”

Katie Lamb (@katie_t1d_artxox) Nottingham, England

“Creating diabetes art started as a method of expressing all the emotions that come with diabetes- I was really struggling and art became my voice. Now, art allows me to connect with other diabetics in the community to represent and empower friends from all over the world.”

Matthew Tarro (@matt.taro) California, United States

“I can see and create things that other people cannot or have not tried. There are no boundaries – keep pushing the envelope and taking risks.”

Michael Natter (@mike.natter) New York, United States

“Art is a catharsis for me. It is a means of expressing myself when no words can. I also hope that my art serves as positive reminders to others that living with diabetes does not limit you or make you lesser, but instead it can just be a part of our lives and in some cases, be a catalyst for positivity.”

Miranda Rylewski (@insulinwitch) Sydney, Australia

“I started creating art as a way to build a relationship with my diabetes as I’d never had one before and completely ignored it which was leading to serious complications. I genuinely believe this art saved me from a very sick future.”

The Diabetic Survivor (@thediabeticsurvivor) Scotland, United Kingdom

“I create diabetes art to bring some joy and happiness to the diabetes community, touching certain aspects of the ‘diabetes world’. At the end of the day, there are certain things that only another person with diabetes would understand.”

Weronika Burkot (@typeone.bluesugarcube) Brussels, Belgium

“I create diabetes art to support and inspire the diabetes community, raise diabetes awareness, and show my unique perspective on life with type 1 diabetes.”

Zoey Stevens (@zoeystevens) California, United States

“I create diabetes art to help people figure out how it makes them feel or gain some insight about what it is. A picture is worth a thousand words, so it is always fun to see how people interpret a painting. And it is a great way to start a dialogue about the disease.”

Watch how each artist communicates their story of living with diabetes through art while inspiring and connecting the global diabetes community. This virtual gallery event will be broadcasted on Myabetic Diabetes TV on July 17th at 5PM Pacific Time/8PM Eastern Time. Myabetic Diabetes TV is available worldwide on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, iOS, Android TV, Google Play and on the website myabetic.tv.

More information available on www.myabetic.com/art-show. Want to share this on your website/blog and need additional images? Email artshow@myabetic.com

Source: diabetesdaily.com