November is typically marked by the vast quantities of food that people eat and the time they spend with family as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, but what many people might not know is that the month has significance for another reason: November is National Diabetes Month. For pharmacy grad student Kara Bobka, the month’s emphasis is part of a much bigger effort that spans the entire school year.
Bobka is the chair of Operation Diabetes, a campus org that is part of Cedarville’s chapter of the American Pharmacists’ Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP). Operation Diabetes, Operation Heart and Operation Immunization are all a part of Cedarville’s APhA-ASP chapter, which began in 2012.
“The operation itself is basically just an organization to reach out either to those in the community or within our education and profession to educate people on diabetes,” Bobka said.
To advocate for National Diabetes Month, Operation Diabetes has been working to promote awareness via social media. Since Oct. 19, the org has been posting information on social media each Monday through Thursday. Mondays are a diet tip, with a different focus each week, varying from top 10 food types to drink suggestions and dessert ideas for diabetics. Tuesdays are focused on exercise, and Wednesdays’ posts feature an international fact related to diabetes. On Thursdays the group posts information about medication, such as the different types and how to use them.
The culmination of Operation Diabetes’ project will be Nov. 14, which is World Diabetes Day. The org will be offering an exercise class on campus and serving a snack afterward that is diabetic appropriate.
But National Diabetes Month isn’t the only time when Operation Diabetes is at work. Throughout the year, the group stays busy with a variety of events, including several outreaches for clinical skills.
Aleda Chen, assistant professor of pharmacy practice, is co-adviser of the APhA-ASP student chapter.
“Operation Diabetes is focused on community efforts about diabetes,” Chen said. “So it can be everything from prevention to treatment to just community education, screenings, things like that.”
During these events pharmacy students involved in Operation Diabetes work with faculty members and licensed pharmacists to provide services such as glucose screenings, checking blood pressure, and checking BMI. Operation Diabetes members also talk to people about medications and, whenever possible, share the gospel as well.
“That’s what our main goal is,” Bobka said. “To maximize on the outreach versus anything else.”
As a fairly new group, Bobka said Operation Diabetes is starting small and hoping to continue to grow in both size and impact in the next few years. Bobka said the org has several ideas for future opportunities to serve and raise awareness, such as hosting a diabetic bake sale on campus, coordinating a diabetic cooking demonstration, and offering a diabetic shoe-fitting class.
Regardless of how the org chooses to serve, Chen said Operation Diabetes hopes not only to provide help for people with diabetes but also to promote awareness and help others to become better educated about diabetes and the ways in which they can keep themselves healthy.
“We can’t always change what we’re born with,” Chen said. “But there’s a lot we can do to help not make it worse.”
Michaela Carpenter is a freshman intercultural studies major and a reporter for Cedars. She loves to travel and spend time with family and friends.