About riva

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It was an honor to be presented the 2015 Lecture Award for diabetes education and advocacy by the International Diabetes Federation World Congress. The Award entitled me to give a one hour lecture, which I did, on flourishing with diabetes. Specifically, using a Flourishing Treatment Approach to work with people who have diabetes. I start here because this is where my work has culminated – helping health professionals work with people with diabetes in a way that helps them flourish.

Betsy Snell - Version 5

This is my focus after more than fifteen years working in diabetes. After seeing how many of us actually do well living with diabetes and studying the research on how people create health. And to enable all people who live with diabetes to find something positive in the living and use diabetes as a catalyst to create a healthier, happier and more meaningful life.

This is how I live with it.

I am sharing a new and positive approach to diabetes that I call the Flourishing Approach. The Flourishing Approach expands health professionals’ treatment repertoire from how they work today to be more inclusive and in partnership with patients. It is about transforming our interactions and communication to work more collaboratively, identify and build on what people are already doing well. To create an environment of safety and help people with diabetes identify their strengths and build resilience and confidence.

I have had type 1 diabetes for 48 years. I got it at 18. As a child I was painfully shy. I know what it is to feel alone and to struggle. Yet today I speak on stages around the world and to large audiences sharing this approach. My early shyness serves me; it has made me observant, sensitive to others, perceptive of the emotional landscapes we live in and practiced in how to change them. I’ve also studied and researched how we create health. I’ve also written my provocative ideas regarding diabetes on the HuffPost.

In truth, I had no idea I’d be doing this work until three events occurred in my life when I was 48 years old.

I began by collecting peoples’ “stories” of living with diabetes including those of loved ones and health professionals. I have gathered more than 175 stories. Each has added to my understanding of how we live with diabetes. It is also part of what informs my work and my belief that how we hold our diabetes influences our ability to manage it, and consequently, the quality of our lives.

Pascua Yaqui

Today my mission includes helping people craft their “flourishing story” of living with diabetes. To create a new positive identity going forward with diabetes and a narrative; one that gives diabetes its place and where in the living with it you find strength, resourcefulness, self-respect, power and pride.

Ad Copywriter & Illustrator

Before I began working in diabetes I was a Madison Avenue advertising copywriter. I was good at it, yet only fulfilled when I was communicating about something that I felt educated and served people. A thread from there to here.

At 28 years old I left my job spurred by a series of personal and professional self-development trainings I had done. I developed an inspirational greeting card business.

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I was artist, writer, marketing and sales representative. I was successful; I had 75 national accounts, but I wanted to bring my human potential messages to a broader audience.

I left my native New York City for Tokyo. Tagged in Business Week as my Japanese company’s “secret weapon,” – a Western woman in a very traditional Japanese advertising agency – I traveled widely and developed a deeper appreciation for different cultures and peoples. After six expansive years I returned home.

When I was 48 I lost my job, was getting married and went to a certified diabetes educator for the first time. I chose to dedicate my life to helping people with diabetes and the health professionals who help us.

Speaking at AADE 2013

American Association of Diabetes Educators national conference, Philadelphia 2013

Attending diabetes conferences led to being a main stage speaker around the world including the U.S., Canada, Israel, Singapore, Sydney, Bangalore and the Netherlands.

Work at a Glance

I’ve written hundreds of articles and three books, given webinars, lectures and presentations at professional conferences – IDF World Congress, American Diabetes Association, American Association of Diabetes Educators, JDRF, DAWN 2 conference, all with the intent to educate and inspire others.

I’ve spoken at the United Nations on behalf of the IDF and Lions Club International. My book, The ABCs of Loving Yourself has been used at diabetes camps in Costa Rica and Panama, as a tool for sharing the feelings and fears of living with type 1 diabetes. I worked for three weeks pro bono with the medical staff of Jnana Sanjeevini Diabetes Centre in Bangalore, India, sharing the Flourishing Approach.

I do not believe we can motivate anyone, but we can inspire and uplift others to find their own motivation. I work as a corporate advisor and lecturer sharing the Flourishing Approach with health professionals and people with diabetes. I am an Ambassador for the non-profit, Insulin for Life, an IDF Blue Circle Voice member and I’ve spent ten years being an A1C Champion peer mentor.

From an early age three things have never changed for me: the desire to help people believe in themselves, the feeling that I’m here to make a contribution and the need to listen to my heart and follow my dreams.

While writing a post about Joslin’s 50-year medal seven years ago I applied for mine  although I was still seven years away. Yet, envisioning standing at the medal ceremony, among so many other medalists, inspires me to keep doing and sharing my best.

As for following my dreams, many have already come true. Now I just have to find an amazing restaurant where the husband and I will celebrate my forthcoming medal.

10 thoughts on “About riva

  1. Hi Riva. This is Marc H. Blatstein. Hope all is well. I love your article on Flourishing with diabetes! I’ve lived successfully with Type 1 diabetes for 58 years. All the things you espouse about living with diabetes I agree with. One of the first articles I wrote that was published probably 25 years ago, was called “Winning With Diabetes.” Like you I embrace living in a positive vein with diabetes. I’ve told audiences that living with diabetes is like being on a roller coaster ride. Hold on for the ups but also hold on for the downs. You’ll com through it. Another saying that I use is that at 29 years old I realized I couldn’t fire my diabetes nor divorce my diabetes. So I chose to make peace with it. Keep up your great works and thanks for all you do for our community. Take care and keep smiling. Marc

  2. I just read your article about wasting insulin via priming the pen. Something else that I discovered with my Kwikpens of Humalog and Lantus: each pen says it contains 3 ml, with each ml having 100 uints, so a total of 300 units per pen. But I discovered that I can only get 280 units out of the pen, for example using 30 units per day of Lantus, which is supposed to last 10 days. But on the tenth day I can only get 10 units out. The last 20 units are in the narrow neck of the pen, and the plunger can’t get into the neck to push the remaining insulin out. These pharma companies sell diabetics 280 units for the price of 300 units.

  3. Hi Riva. Ive been Winning with my diabetes for over 58 years. Reading your positive and encouraging stories continues to motivate me to help many others win with their diabetes. Thanks for all if your great work. Take care and keep smiling.
    Marc

  4. Hello Riva , My dear friend Rebecca has type 2 , was switched Toujeo 14 days ago. 100 units / now up 104 past two days.270 lowest AM yet !…….Getting AM NUMBERS is Hard , she gets up at night and eats strawberries dipped in TRUVIA….She is 235 lb / 66 years old. We also do meal time Novolog 30 / 25 units…..every meal….. My Main Question , HOW MANY UNITS of TOUJEO is safe to GO UP TO…..Do some people take 120 units in some cases seems 104 is high… ……??? Thanks Bob K

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