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Hospital of Central Connecticut Diabetes Educator Receives ADA “Hero Award”

New Britain [April 01 2009] - Patricia A. O’Connell, M.S., R.D., C.D.E., C.D.-N., a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at The Hospital of Central Connecticut, recently received the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Hero Award.

O’Connell, of Newington, was honored for her dedication to the diabetes community, including her work with patients, community outreach and more than 20 years of involvement with the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

She was among three people statewide honored at the ADA’s 15th Annual Hall of Merit Gala March 28 at the Marriot Hartford’s Grand Ballroom.

At the Joslin Affiliate, O’Connell’s responsibilities include providing medical nutrition therapy and diabetes education in a variety of settings to patients and their families/care partners to maximize diabetes management. She also conducts community outreach through diabetes screenings and presentations.

O’Connell is involved in the ADA in various capacities and has been in a leadership role with the organization for more than 20 years. She is also involved in grassroots efforts to influence funding for diabetes.

“I truly believe that we might not have the legislation that created a payment system for diabetes education, or at the very least it would have taken several years longer without Pat’s insights, persistence, and hard work,” William Petit, M.D., former medical director of the Joslin Affiliate at The Hospital of Central Connecticut, said at the Hall of Merit Gala.

Petit noted that O’Connell gladly works long hours to help her patients.

“…we know that Pat has been the backbone of the education and therapy of thousands of patients with diabetes whose lives have been improved by her hard work, knowledge, persistence, and perhaps most important of all her kindness,” Petit said.

O’Connell earned her bachelor’s degree in home economics with a nutrition emphasis from Marywood College, Scranton, Pa., and completed a dietetic internship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C. She earned her master’s degree in nutrition from the University of Maryland. She has been at the Joslin Affiliate at The Hospital of Central Connecticut for 11 years.

The Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at The Hospital of Central Connecticut provides individualized care for people 18 and older with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, as well as pregnant women with diabetes.

The ADA Hall of Merit Gala has raised diabetes awareness and millions of dollars to support research aimed at preventing and curing diabetes, and helping people with diabetes live longer, healthier, more normal lives.

Contact: Nancy Martin, 860-224-5900, ext. 4366














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