Background: To address the need of caring for the growing number of patients with diabetes, East Carolina University implemented a 1-year fellowship in diabetes. Most of the region has been designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas.
Description: The objective of the fellowship is to educate primary care physicians to serve as regional specialists in diabetes. The program is administered by physicians, educators, and representatives of the university's affiliated teaching hospital. The curriculum includes clinical, didactic, and experiential learning strategies in outpatient and inpatient settings. Adult and pediatric endocrinologists, obstetricians, and generalists mentor and evaluate the fellows.
Evaluation: This innovative training program has improved the availability of high-quality diabetes care for underserved patients in the region. Mean glycemic control in fellows' patients improved and other clinical endpoints were also met.
Conclusions: A 1-year diabetes fellowship is a replicable solution to address the need for diabetes care specialists.