Chatham Hospital Diabetes Educator Travels to China with U.S. Cultural Exchange Program
Part of a 12-person nutrition delegation sponsored by People to People
For Immediate Release: Monday, January 2, 2006
SILER CITY, N.C. When a 12-person nutrition delegation traveled from the U.S. to China in November as part of a People to People International educational exchange, Doris Welborn from Chatham Hospital was selected to join them as the teams only diabetes educator.
Founded by former president Dwight D. Eisenhower, the People to People Ambassador Program is a nonprofit cultural and information initiative that promotes international understanding and friendship through the direct exchange of ideas and experiences.
Welborn, a registered dietician and certified diabetes educator, heads Chatham Hospitals Diabetes Self-Management Program, which has been recognized by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) for its excellence. The People to People nutrition delegation was handpicked by the ADA and included dieticians from 11 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
During their two-week tour of China, Welborn and her fellow ambassadors met with representatives from hospitals and universities in Beijing, Xian and Kuming, China.
China just began its dietetics program in 2004, so we were there to share our expertise and provide information about what we do, Welborn said. We have 65,000 registered dieticians here in the U.S., compared to only two or three thousand for all of China. As the diabetes educator on the team, I was able to present what we do at Chatham Hospital and share some helpful tools.
During an extensive series of meetings with educators and medical staffers, the delegation saw modern medical techniques blended with a more traditional Eastern approach including herbal medicines that are routinely dispensed by hospital pharmacies. They also discovered that the Chinese have seen a spike in diabetes and other nutritional problems as the country has become exposed to a more Western diet adding urgency to the need to adopt new educational programs in proper nutrition.
Delegates were given time to visit both large urban cities and small rural communities, as well as the Great Wall, Forbidden City and other popular tourist destinations.
This really was an opportunity of a lifetime and was so rewarding, Welborn said. It has made me more sensitive to cultural differences, beliefs and food habits, and it has helped me better appreciate what we have here. Ive discovered that the educational programs we offer here at Chatham Hospital are really on the cutting edge.