Diabetes Diagnosis Led Educator to Dream Career

Janet Frank

 (801) 357-7766



November 29 — PROVO — Diabetes changed life for Ben Peay when he was a teenager. It also set him on the path to a career that’s fulfilled his dreams and earned him statewide praise.
“I’ve wanted to be a diabetes educator since I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at age 14. I had great educators who made a big difference for me, so I always wanted to do the same for other people,” said Peay, RN, a certified diabetes educator at Utah Valley Diabetes Management Clinic.
He’s achieved that goal plus more. Peay’s work is being recognized across the state since he received this year’s Diabetes Educator of the Year Award from the American Association of Diabetes Educators of Utah.
At the Diabetes Management Clinic, Peay has a reputation for connecting with patients of all ages and tailoring education to each individual’s needs. Rather than presenting the same education in the same way to every patient, he finds out what worries a person most and starts teaching from there.
Having lived with diabetes for almost 20 years, Peay understands the daily challenges of the disease. But he also knows it’s possible to control it enough to do anything – like run cross country or bike 100 miles.
“When I was diagnosed, the technology and the insulin were really different than they are today. Diabetes ran my life,” Peay said. “My educators helped me find ways to control my diabetes that gave me freedom to do what I wanted.”
Freedom through disease management is one thing Peay emphasizes with all patients. He then reviews meal plans, medications, exercise, blood sugar levels and complications. Many patients also turn to him for help with the emotional impact of living with diabetes.
“Diabetes is so different for each individual. Books give you the basics, but everyone has different education needs. Half of my job is more psychology than nursing,” said Peay.
Being a diabetic has its positives and negatives when it comes to working with patients, according to Peay. It helps him have empathy for others, but it also makes it very diffi cult when people won’t take care of themselves.
“It’s hard to see the people who can’t or won’t take care of themselves. People have to work hard to accomplish what that they want to do,” said Peay. “It’s hard, but it’s possible.”
For more information, please contact Janet Frank at 801.357.7766 or janet.frank@imail.org.
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