Chatting with the Industry CDE of the Year: Roni Pagano

As a result of our recent merger with Diasend, we’re extremely excited to add incredible new members to the Glooko family. Roni Pagano, the East Coast Regional Territory Manager at Diasend, recently received the AADE Industry CDE of the Year Award and we couldn’t be more proud.

I reached out to Roni to hear a little more about who she is and her well-deserved accomplishment. Without further ado, here’s Roni:

Brianna: Could you introduce yourself and tell us how you decided to become a CDE?

Roni: My name is Roni (Schoenberg) Pagano, and I have had T1D for the last 41 years. I grew up in a time when diabetes tools were unavailable– the best I could do was test my urine to see if I had sugar or ketones in my body, though with a 6 hour delay! No meters, short-acting insulin, HbA1c or any concept of carbohydrate counting. I knew that one day I needed to learn what food was doing to my body. I went to school to be a Registered Dietitian. During college, meters started to reach the general market and completely changed my world! When I started having children, I needed to go on a pump, which was revolutionary for me. My need to understand everything happening in the diabetes world led me to become a CDE!

B: Tell us a moment in your CDE career that made you the most impassioned.

R: Every time I help a newly diagnosed child and their terrified parents in the hospital– just hugging them all and telling them it will all be okay. Having a mom cry in my arms in a state of panic and with a hug, she feels relief and a connection with me! It is the best feeling ever– helping others in a state of unknown.

B: How do you believe your personal experience living with T1D has affected your career?

R: Simply hugging families would not have been as well-received if I didn’t share the diagnosis. My career has been passionately guided through the experiences I’ve had as a person with diabetes–working in pump companies, with durable medical equipment providers, providing education for a pharmaceutical company, and now helping with uploading diabetic medical devices and understanding reports with Diasend. I have enjoyed every company I’ve been with.

B: Where do you foresee the field of diabetes education going? What would you like to see change or remain the same?

R: I would like to see more time allotted for reading blood sugar reports and educating the patient regarding what patterns were found and how to improve. I would also love to see this as a billable code. I would like the artificial pancreas come out and explode the industry. I would like to see faster acting insulin.

B: What is one piece of advice you’d give to a CDE who does not live with diabetes him/herself?

R: My advice would be: don’t preach, judge or be negative. There are always reasons why things are done that you might not have thought of as a person with diabetes (why they keeping changing their calculated bolus, for example).

B: What brought you to the Diasend team?

R: I wanted to be on the technology end of the diabetes industry. It’s so funny to see all of these endocrinology offices with all these wires coming out of their computers and everyone just going insane with firewalls, patients waiting forever, and clinicians learning to read 10-12 different program reports. Diasend was a no brainer to make a huge difference in people’s lives!

B: How has the evolution of diabetes data management affected you?

R: It has given me a whole new outlook on life! I can look at times of day or days of the week for trends and decide what I need to do to keep my blood sugars in my target range.

B: How do you use data in helping your patients manage their diabetes?

R: I like to ask questions so patients figure out what they need to improve rather than point things out that might be easy for me to see right away. They need to feel like they solved their diabetes problem for optimal results! They need to be their own Diabetes Detective!

B: One fun question: what’s your favorite low carb meal and snack?

R: If you know me at all, I love salad!!! I love how crunchy it is, the flavors in it and that I can eat a lot of it too. I had a friend who reminded me of my salad-love when I said,” I would love a big salad for lunch”, and she said, “Roni when do you not want a salad for lunch!” Popcorn is my go-to snack.

Thank you so much to Roni for sharing your story and expertise with the diabetes community and for your contributions to the CDE field. Congratulations!

Robin Beadle