From Small Student Group to National Non-Profit Diabetes Organization

For many students and families who have a loved one living with diabetes, heading off to college for the first time can be both an exciting and scary experience. For the first time these students experience living on their own and they are ultimately responsible for their own well-being and diabetes management. The College Diabetes Network, an organization emerging on college campuses throughout the U.S. and Canada, strives to improve the lives of students on campus living with type 1 diabetes by offering peer support and access to information and resources. Today, we are thrilled to welcome Christina Roth, the founder of CDN, to share some background about the organization as well as some information on how to start a chapter on your campus. If you participate in an organization that helps to bring together your local diabetes community, we’d love to hear about it in the comments!

I never dreamed that my student group on campus would turn into a national non-profit organization! My name is Christina Roth, and I started The College Diabetes Network in 2009, during my junior year of college at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I had met a nurse practitioner on campus the year before, and when she saw how burnt out I was, she suggested that I bring a group of students together, as many of the other T1D students on campus felt the same way that I did. Diabetes was personal to her since she had had type 1 for over 30 years before getting a pancreatic transplant. From our first meeting, the ability to connect with other students who understood all of the frustrations (and victories) that living with diabetes on campus entailed was amazing!

Before CDN, I had never really connected with anyone else living with diabetes, and I never anticipated CDN becoming anything more than the small student group that we started. However, as word began to spread, and the more I talked to people about it, the more I realized the need for this organization. The organization that CDN is today is truly a collaborative effort from students across the country addressing the current needs and lack of resources for their population.

Today, CDN has chapters throughout the United States, and even a few in Canada. Our mission is to empower and improve the lives of students living with type 1 diabetes through peer support and access to information and resources. We work with students to create chapters on their campus, providing resources, support, and infrastructure to help them get started and to keep the group going. From there, the group is theirs to own, and we love to feature the new and creative ideas that students have to help make their groups unique. To get connected, or to start/register your own chapter, simply email our Program Director, Jo Treitman at

To learn more about CDN visit our website at and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

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