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Outstanding Educator explains how collaboration with patients can improve outcomes


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3 minutes

A passion for diabetes that began in pharmacy school at Washington State University (WSU) would take on a deeply personal meaning in graduate school for the 2024 recipient of the ADA’s Outstanding Educator in Diabetes Award.

Joshua J. Neumiller, PharmD, CDCES, FADCES, FASCP
Joshua J. Neumiller, PharmD, CDCES, FADCES, FASCP

Joshua J. Neumiller, PharmD, CDCES, FADCES, FASCP, Professor of Pharmacotherapy at WSU, developed a growing interest in the disease while working at an immunology lab and pursuing his pharmacy degree. With graduation looming, he had a difficult decision to make: apply to graduate school or pursue a residency to gain additional knowledge and experience in diabetes care and education.

Dr. Neumiller was presented with the Outstanding Educator in Diabetes Award on Saturday, June 22, during the special session ADA Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board Fireside Chat; President, Health Care & Education Address; and Outstanding Educator in Diabetes Award Lecture. He is a long-standing ADA volunteer and served as Chairman of the ADA’s Professional Practice Committee from 2018-2019.

Ultimately, Dr. Neumiller chose graduate school and continued training in an immunology lab. Six months later, he experienced a “glucose roller coaster” while visiting home for the Thanksgiving holiday, which led to a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.

“What’s striking to me through this experience was how overwhelmed I was with the diagnosis and the prospect of managing an intensive insulin regimen for the rest of my life, despite having been trained as a pharmacist,” he said.

Following his diagnosis, he had a revelation.

“I found myself reflecting on all the people I had interacted with while moonlighting at the pharmacy on the weekends, and asking had I done enough to educate these individuals, many of whom didn’t have the same background knowledge that I had with diagnosing diabetes,” he recalled.

This reflection inspired him to shift his professional and personal goals to transition from the graduate program to a clinical services residency. There, Dr. Neumiller worked with older adults in a home health setting.

From day one of his residency, Dr. Neumiller realized there was an evident need for diabetes education for those living with the disease. He emphasized how enlightening it is to engage with and educate people in their homes, especially those with limited access to resources.

“It truly provides incredible insights into person-centered care and education. For example, we were able to observe firsthand their living conditions and any potential barriers to self-care,” Dr. Neumiller said. “You can often gain a deeper understanding of lifestyle considerations, such as the foods available in the homes, and opportunities or barriers to physical activity.”

He detailed strategies for overcoming barriers to improved management of diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD), including multidisciplinary education, harmonized clinical practice guidelines, self-management programs, multidisciplinary care models, and risk-mitigation strategies.

“Considering diabetes management is indeed a team sport, implementation and expansion of multidisciplinary models of CKD care represents a promising strategy to address underutilization of recommended therapies in diabetes and CKD,” he said.

Dr. Neumiller concluded his acceptance of the award by recognizing and thanking his mentors and colleagues, his supportive family, and the ADA staff and leadership. Among those Dr. Neumiller recognized was his mentor, R. Keith Campbell, RPh, who the ADA recognized for his efforts as an educator more than three decades ago.

“I truly owe a lot to Keith Campbell. He was an amazing mentor and friend,” Dr. Neumiller said. “Keith was always known at the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences for saying, ‘Now go make me proud,’ to colleagues and students at the end of a conversation, which is commemorated on a plaque in his honor at the college. As the ADA’s 1989 Outstanding Educator in Diabetes, I’m confident Keith would be proud to see me on the podium this morning.”

The session featuring Dr. Neumiller’s award acceptance can be viewed on-demand by registered meeting participants on the virtual meeting platform. If you haven’t registered for the 84th Scientific Sessions, register today to access the valuable meeting content through Aug. 26.

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There is still time to register for on-demand access to learn about the latest advances in diabetes research, prevention, and care presented at the 84th Scientific Sessions. Select session recordings will be available through Aug. 26.