5 Tips for Becoming a Diabetes Mentor
Formal peer mentorship programs are hard to come by, so you’ll have to get a little creative in finding a mentee, says Christel Aprigliano, founder of The Diabetes Unconference, a peer-lead event that focuses on the psychosocial aspects of living with diabetes. Here are five ways to jumpstart your search:
1. Share your expertise. Go to online or in-person support groups and talk about your experiences. For instance, if you’re training for a marathon, entering your third trimester of pregnancy, or finishing up your senior year of college, bring it up in a group discussion. Let things develop naturally from there. Or, talk with the group leader to let them know you’re willing to be a mentor for anyone who needs some guidance.
2. Start a meetup. Consider asking a meetup group to focus on mentoring for a session. Or start your own group that focuses on various aspects of mentorships.
3. Attend a conference. Get out and meet people at peer conferences to strike up relationships that can lead to mentorships. Let it be known that you’re willing to help, but don’t push anyone who isn’t ready, says Joanne Rinker, MS, RD, CDE, LDN, of Constellation Health Improvement Partners in Morrisville, North Carolina, and a spokesperson for the American Association of Diabetes Educators.
4. Go high tech. Soon, you may be able to connect to others through an app: Find Your Ditto, currently in beta testing, will match people with chronic conditions in the same area for peer support.
5. Enlist your health care team. Share your mentoring aspirations with your certified diabetes educator, doctor, pharmacist, diabetes nurse, or registered dietitian. They may be able to link you to someone who could benefit from your wisdom.