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RN Loata Sipili joins the ranks of US certified diabetes educators

Loata Sipili, who heads LBJ hospital’s diabetes program, is now a certified diabetes educator.  [photo: FS]

LBJ Medical Center’s Loata Sipili has joined the ranks of over 19,280 health care professionals across the nation as a certified diabetes educator — by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE).

NCBDE is an independent organization that promotes the interests of diabetes educators and the public at large by granting certification to qualified health professionals involved in teaching persons with diabetes, through the establishment of eligibility requirements and development of a written examination.

“Thank God for passing the credential that I highly value, to remind me of my professional commitment to the clients I serve, my employer, the government, and of course, my profession of nursing; it is a source of security and power base for me as I go about in doing routine work with patients in inpatient and outpatient settings,” Sipili said on Tuesday, when asked for comments of her latest achievement of becoming a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE).

According to LBJ, Sipili has been a diabetes educator for over 15 years with approximately 30 years of experience as a registered nurse, and currently heads the hospital’s diabetes program. Sipili, who is from Ili’ili, not only serves as a resource to professional staff, but as an integral member of the diabetes health care team.

Sipili is a graduate of the University of Hawaii-Manoa School of Nursing, and is proud to be the second Samoan to graduate from this nursing program. Elizabeth Malae, a registered nurse, is the first Samoan and currently a colleague of Sipili’s in diabetes education.

LBJ chief executive officer Taufete’e John Faumuina told Samoa News, on Tuesday, “Loata earned the status of CDE through hard work, passion and commitment to serve the people and unconditional determination for accountability and responsibility through professional development — We are ever so proud of Loata.”

Taufete’e points out, “With American Samoa's growing demographic of pre diabetes and diabetic patients, we are very fortunate to have a seasoned and experienced CDE in our territory,” adding that Sipili joins the ranks of over 19,000 CDE's nationwide who are specialty specific in diabetes education.

Asked how she would help American Samoa’s growing diabetes population as a CDE, Sipili said, she would “serve as a model” of health in promoting, educating, and participating in any effort aiming at preventing obesity, and reducing risk factors towards diabetes and other chronic diseases. This includes work with high risk individuals to reduce diabetes risk factors, as well as those patients already diagnosed, empowering them how to self-manage their diabetes regimen.

She said her work would also partner with the Health Department and any other ASG department “interested in promoting and providing preventive care for their employees.”

Sipili said, It’s “very important to serve as a resource to the community if requested to promote awareness and for people to take actions in making lifestyle changes towards risk reduction and thus reducing obesity, and diabetes, and hypertension.”

According to LBJ and NCBDE, candidates for CDE “must meet rigorous eligibility” to be able to take examination. Additionally achieving certification status demonstrates to people with diabetes and employers and the health care professional possesses distinct specialized knowledge, thereby promoting quality of care for people with diabetes.

The CDE exam, according to Sipili, is a comprehensive test and as such requires a lot of preparation — at least 6 months prior to target date of the test. It covers nutrition, physical activity, medications and treatments, path physiology/physiology of diabetes across the life span including pregnant women; stages of behavioral changes as well as federal agencies that impact health e.g. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare, Food and Drug Administration and US Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

She said all licensed health care professionals are qualified to take the CDE including licensed medical officer, registered pharmacist, registered dietician, registered nurse, licensed physician assistant, or exercise physiologist. The CDE is renewed every 5 years either by reexamination or through maintaining 75 continuing education units.

“It is worthwhile to pursue this credential if one educates or counsels, or treat patients with chronic diseases including diabetes,” Sipili said. “It is a guaranteed way of ensuring one is kept current with rapid changes in knowledge and research in the field of diabetes.”

A CDE is a health professional who possesses comprehensive knowledge of and experience in diabetes management, pre diabetes, and diabetes prevention, according to the NCBDE, at