Health Services offers program for students with Type 1 diabetes

By Lee Ann Roberts

Contributing Writer

Published: Sunday, September 12, 2010

Updated: Sunday, September 26, 2010

Central Florida Future

Lee Ann Roberts

The University of Central Florida's Health Services held its first Type 1 diabetes program at Ferrell Commons Marketplace last Thursday.

This program was designed by Dr. Mike Deichen and clinician Mike Cronyn, to provide students with the tools and information needed to successfully enjoy their college experience while managing their diabetes in a healthy way.

During the presentation students met others with Type 1 diabetes, interacted with healthcare professionals, received free medication and supplies, and were informed of the new and upcoming diabetes equipment.

"This is the first program done in the United States that's affiliated with a university that targets only college students with Type 1 diabetes. Every student here received a free meal, notebook, UCF book bag and HypoKit, practice tests that consists of one injection needle and pillow. We want to teach these students tonight about what Type 1 diabetes is..." said Cronyn, UCF physician assistant and clinician.

According to the American Diabetes Association website Type 1 diabetes is a direct result of the body not producing insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for everyday life.

"This rare condition left at least a 90 UCF student's lifestyles dramatically affected," said Cronyn.

"Before I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, I never had to plan for anything. Now I always plan where I'm going and what I'm doing physically… I do this because I have to make wise decisions so I don't have to deal with the excruciating effects like irritability, fatigue, shakes and zombie periods when I literally can't move," said Frances Loiz, a senior biology major.

Not only are these student's lifestyles changed, but also their job opportunities.

"In 2008, I was recruited for a position as an officer of the United States Navy. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at that time and could not accept the job opportunity," said Anthony Aakre, a graduate in interdisciplinary studies.

One can imagine the psychological and emotional effects that these students face.

"This program is a collaborative system. We have a dietician here, a pharmacist, a clinician and members of the wellness and healthcare division…. I am the psychological piece of that system. Patients who have Type 1 diabetes experience periods of stress, anxiety, depression and frustrations. I am one of twenty-four therapists that are here to help students feel comfortable and maintain strong relationships while managing Type 1 diabetes," said Liz Stevenson, a UCF counselor.

UCF Healthcare Center faculty are making living with Type 1 diabetes easier.

"If students have questions about what to eat, how to exercise or anything dealing with diet or healthy living they can come to me. The healthcare system is opened Monday through Saturday and I'm available almost every day except for Wednesday. A pharmacy is also located on campus for students to request and receive specific medications," said Preeti Wilkhu, a UCF dietician.

The Healthcare Center is located on the southeast side of campus near the Libra residence halls.

The center provides primary and limited specialty care services to UCF students that have pressing medical inquiries or are in dire need of medical assistance. Registered UCF students can use the Health Center regardless of health insurance coverage.

For more information about the Type 1 program or how you can be involved, go to http:// www.hs.sdes.ucf.edu/healthcenter/type1.html.

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