Back to Press Releases DRIF Connects Families Of Newly Diagnosed Children With Mentors

Diabetes Research Institute Foundation Connects Families Of Newly Diagnosed Children With Mentors

The PEP Squad helps parents empower parents with one-on-one support and a "survival guide" brochure.

(November 29, 2007) – Hollywood, FL – Recognizing the emotional need for "diabetes parents" to connect with each other, the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation has formed the PEP Squad: Parents Empowering Parents. Trained by professionals and experienced in the day to day challenges of the disease, this group is reaching out to families of newly diagnosed children to serve as mentors, listen and offer support, and instill hope that one day a cure will be found.

For the past several months, the 15-member group has undergone multiple training sessions under the direction of Dr. Wendy Satin Rapaport, Ilene Vinikoor and Dr. Carol Nudelman, licensed social workers and psychologists who are experienced in the area of diabetes. These volunteers are now spreading out into the community, interacting with families upon initial diagnosis, and then continuing to serve as a sounding board when new obstacles arise.

"We have all shared similar experiences as parents of kids with diabetes. Although we don't have all the answers, we can offer moral support and help get these newly diagnosed families back on track," said Lynette Miller, a "squad leader" who worked with the DRI Foundation to develop a new, informative brochure.

The free brochure, titled, "Your Child was Just Diagnosed with Diabetes ... Now What?" is a 12-page guide that breaks down the spectrum of emotions families face and acknowledges the exhausting barrage of questions, concerns and fears that inescapably come with a diabetes diagnosis. It also aims to remind parents that their child with diabetes is a child first, and as overwhelming as the regimen can seem, they will come to know a "new normal." Many pediatric endocrinologists have been supportive of this effort, handing out the brochure to new patients so they can learn about this important service.

"At the end of our training sessions, I like to ask the group, 'What did you get from today?' Their responses are strength, hope, friendship, camaraderie and understanding. These feelings are exactly what they want to return to the families they are mentoring," said Dr. Rapaport, a clinical psychologist and adjunct professor of medicine and psychology at the Diabetes Research Institute.

Most importantly, the mission of the group is to bolster confidence that these families can meet the daily challenges of the disease, connect with other parents who have shared similar experiences, and hold on to hope for a future free from diabetes.

To be connected to a PEP Squad member or to obtain the brochure, call 1-800-321-3437 or visit

The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to provide the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami with the funding necessary to cure diabetes through islet transplantation and other cell-based therapies.

The Diabetes Research Institute, a center of excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is a recognized world leader in cure-focused research. Since its inception in the early 1970s, the DRI has made significant contributions to the field of diabetes research, pioneering many of the techniques used in islet transplantation. The DRI is now harnessing the power of emerging technologies to develop new cell-based therapies to restore insulin production. For the millions of families already affected by diabetes who are looking to the world of science for answers, the Diabetes Research Institute is the best hope for a cure.


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Last Updated: Wednesday November 05, 2014 21:27:29
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