Published November 2005
Salt Lake City, Utah's Karmeen Kulkarni is covering a lot of professional ground in the battle against type 1 and 2 diabetes. As a diabetes educator, author, registered dietitian and Director of Nutrition Services at the Diabetes Health Center, Karmeen is a devoted and highly respected leader in the field.
For more than 20 years, Karmeen has helped people live well with diabetes by taking a realistic and individualized approach to their care in designing successful personal nutrition and exercise plans. Many individuals with diabetes and their families have benefited from her care, knowledge and professional dedication.
A Long Commitment to the Association
Karmeen has been involved with the American Diabetes Association both locally and nationally since 1982. She started her affiliation with diabetes in 1978 when the Centers for Disease Control began the first round of their diabetes control program in Nebraska. Having recently witnessed the diagnosis of her dear uncle with type 2 diabetes, Karmeen seized the opportunity to accept a position with the CDC's new initiative in hopes of personally affecting his quality of life.
Throughout the 20-plus years since she first joined the diabetes community, a lot has changed in the field and in her personal life. Today, Karmeen is recognized nationally for her clinical experience. However, during her professional development period, both her mother and mother-in-law were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and two cousins were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. And sadly, Karmeen's uncle passed away due to diabetes complications.
But each of these turns have only served to strengthen Karmeen's resolve to help people live as well as possible with diabetes and to do her share to move diabetes research forward. For personal and professional reasons, Karmeen chose to partner with the American Diabetes Association.
"It is a great experience to be an American Diabetes Association volunteer," Karmeen said. "It has helped me to advance my personal and professional commitment to diabetes."
Karmeen's professional accomplishments include having published articles, studies and nutritional guides for professionals and lay people — many of these in collaboration with the Associaiton.
For example, the Association recently published the second edition of its "Complete Guide to Carb Counting" that teaches individuals with diabetes a carb-counting system to achieve tight control of their blood glucose levels. Karmeen co-authored the popular publication.
In addition to the many national and local American Diabetes Association committees and task forces on which she has served, Karmeen is currently undertaking her greatest volunteer challenge as the Association's President for Health Care & Education. In this capacity, she will work with the leadership team of principle officers Robert Rizza, MD and Larry Smith to advance the Association's increasingly important mission.
The Importance of Research
In taking to heart the enormity of the challenge diabetes places before us, Karmeen believes her commitment to diabetes will always extend beyond the professional. Diabetes is personal to Karmeen and this is why she became a Pinnacle Society member in 2001.
"I became a member of the Pinnacle Society because research is very important to me and it is research that will eventually move treatment forward and improve diabetes care and management on a clinical level," stated Karmeen. "Everyone is touched by diabetes, through a family member, a friend or a colleague.
"Improving diabetes care by supporting research will benefit everyone either directly or indirectly," she stated. "The Association is committed to research and its Nationwide Research Program continues to grow and affect diabetes care at all levels.
"I encourage people to definitely get involved and make that initial gift to the American Diabetes Association. Once you are involved with the American Diabetes Association, you always want to stay involved."