Educator of the Year: AADE names Mary Bowens Diabetes Educator of the Year


American Association of Diabetes Educators Names Mary Bowens Educator of the Year

Diabetes Educator Recognized for Outstanding Dedication in the Daily Practice of Patient Care

Washington, DC, August 12, 2005 – The American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) has named Mary Bowens, RN, BSN, CDE, 2005 Diabetes Educator of the Year. The AADE award has been sponsored by LifeScan, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company, since 1986, and is given annually to an individual who has made a special contribution to diabetes education through dedication and innovation in the daily practice of patient care.

“Mary Bowens deserves recognition as an outstanding diabetes educator for her professionalism, selfless dedication and whole-hearted devotion to helping those around her,” said Charles Renfroe, Senior Manager of Professional Affairs at LifeScan. “Through her special way of encouraging excellence, her creative approaches to teaching diabetes management, and her treatment of the whole person, she motivates and educates her patients. Mary is a role model to those in her field and those she treats.”

Bowens’ commitment to individual patient care is outstanding. She looks at the whole person and his or her lifestyle and surroundings, devising a treatment plan that will work best for the patient and the entire family. For instance, if patients are having trouble with meal planning, Bowens will take food from the shelf or refrigerator to help them understand what foods are better choices for them. In addition, for low literacy patients, she uses the plate method and laminated pictures of foods to enhance their learning of the meal planning process. The innovative Bingo-style game she devised, as well as games similar to “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” that use diabetes care questions with rewards, all have proven to be helpful and fun learning exercises.

As the Diabetes Nurse Educator for the North Mississippi Medical Center’s (NMMC) Home Health Agency, Bowens visits and educates her patients in their homes and instructs all 200 of the agency’s nurses on the importance of diabetes management and treatment. Through her work at NMMC, she also has championed the Information Quality Healthcare project that is sponsored by Medicare. Her efforts have helped NMMC increase the number of patients receiving an annual HbA1c test from 50% in 2001 to 75% in 2004.

Bowens’ efforts in the diabetes field do not stop with her patient care and work for NMMC. She has served as program chairperson -- and two years as President Elect -- for the Mississippi Association of Diabetes Educators. She also has served as secretary for the AADE Home Health Specialty Group and is currently serving her second year as the group’s chair. She also volunteers for the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi and appears frequently on a local Mississippi TV show, discussing diabetes, meal planning, treatment and maintenance.

Bowens’ dedication to diabetes education is also evidenced by frequent speaking engagements at community outreach programs, diabetes screenings at local health fairs, and participation in her local diabetes support group in Booneville, MS, where she resides. Bowens is a committed partner in the field of diabetes education, and she is always attempting to learn more about diabetes so that she can continue to treat her patients as successfully as possible.

Other finalists for the AADE Diabetes Educator of the Year Award included:

  • Brooks Kent, M.S., R.D., L.D., CDE, diabetes educator for WellStar Health System in Marietta GA; and
  • Jeanne Fenn, RN, MEd, CDE, Clinical Nurse Specialist, University Medical Center in Tucson, AZ.

LifeScan, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company, and a leading maker of blood glucose monitoring products, is dedicated to creating a world without limits for people with diabetes. For healthcare professional resources, and information on diabetes care and LifeScan products and services, visit