Training Program Helps Pharmacists Provide Diabetes Care

Pharmacy TimesJuly 2021
Volume 87
Issue 7
Pages: 62

APhA offers intensive certificate course on integrating education and management into practice.

Pharmacists can help patients manage diabetes, which was the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States in 2020, according to the CDC.1

Approximately 34.2 million US adults have diabetes, and 1 in 5 do not know they have it, according to the CDC.1 The majority of cases are type 2 diabetes, and approximately 5% to 10% are type 1.

To effectively help patients, pharmacists must possess diabetes-related knowledge and skills. The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) has developed a certificate training program specifically focused on providing pharmacists with the tools needed to engage in effective, evidence-based diabetes care.2 The primary goal of the program is to inform pharmacists of best practices for incorporating diabetes education and management. Pharmacists can work collaboratively with patients to make the best use of medication therapies and achieve optimal therapeutic outcomes.2

The program provides comprehensive instruction on the concepts and standards that define diabetes care management through case studies and hands-on skills training. The training is designed to showcase real-life practice scenarios that pharmacists may face. The hands-on approach allows pharmacists to evaluate and make modifications to therapeutic drug regimens for individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

The diabetes certification program consists of 6 modules: the pathogenesis and diagnosis of diabetes, goals of care and approaches to treatment, lifestyle modification, pharmacotherapy, comprehensive diabetes care, and the pharmacist’s role in diabetes self-management education and support.2 Some of the topics taught are A1C testing, carbohydrate counting and meal planning, clinical trials, and foot problems.

Upon completion, pharmacists should be aware of the outcomes of patient care services for individuals with diabetes, understand diabetes education, and be able to apply the principles of motivational interviewing, goal-setting, and cultural sensitivity to the interactions that occur with this patient population.2

Pharmacists should be able to evaluate the overall health of patients with diabetes to develop therapeutic interventions. Along the way, there can be changes made to these interventions to deliver the best possible outcomes. The diabetes care certification program teaches pharmacists how to remain abreast of the latest developments in diabetes care and to take advantage of opportunities to grow in their knowledge and experience with diabetes care.2

The program emphasizes the correct way to counsel patients about lifestyle interventions and medications, and how to properly monitor and assess blood glucose results. Pharmacists can work collaboratively with patients to make the best use of medication therapies and work to achieve optimal therapeutic outcomes.2 The overall health of patients with diabetes can be largely the result of continuous monitoring and targeted interventions.

This program has been developed with the intent of both curtaining the prevalence of diabetes and working to educate patients about proper long-term management.2

Abimbola Farinde, PhD, PharmD, is a professor of health care administration at Columbia Southern University College of Business in Orange Beach, Alabama.


  1. What is diabetes? CDC. June 11, 2020. Accessed June 23, 2020.
  2. The pharmacist & patient-centered diabetes care. American Pharmacists Association. Accessed June 23, 2021.
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