In 1973 Dr. Richard Guthrie was recruited and became the first Department of Pediatrics’ Chair at the University of Kansas School of Medicine- Wichita Branch. Besides his expertise in pediatrics, he brought his expertise in diabetes and other endocrine disorders as an endocrinologist who had been mentored by Robert L. Jackson, M.D. He was trained at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Diana W. Guthrie, RN, MPH had been a pediatric nurse in Missouri and was hired by Wichita State University, Department of Nursing, as an instructor. She also had an appointment with the University of Kansas. Diana pioneered the role of diabetes educator in the United States. She was the national Treasurer for American Association of Diabetes Educators when there were 200 members. That organization today has over 10,000members. Diana helped found one of only two graduate nursing programs to train diabetes nurse specialists.
In 1976, Debbie Hinnen, RN, MN joined the husband and wife team. With Dr Guthrie and Diana’s passion for improving the care of persons with diabetes, a weeklong diabetes education program was developed in 1977. Debbie was involved in development of the 35 hour/week long education program. Virginia Stucky, RD who brought the point system for meal planning to Kansas, was also a faculty member for the original program and recruited Judy Freisen, RD to assist with the nutrition information. The diabetes team provided care for approximately 600 children with diabetes. The program continues to exist as a three-day program at Mid America Diabetes Associates, with evening classes and gestational classes offered every week.
Research has always been an important part of the diabetes programs philosophy.
In 1979, Belinda Childs, RN, MN joined the program to assist with the clinical trials of the Biostator Glucose Controller. In May, 1980 for first Autosyringe insulin pump was initiated. The first dose of human insulin manufactured by Eli Lilly, Inc. was given in Wichita, Kansas as part of the clinical trials on December 19, 1980. Research continues to be a strong component of Mid-America Diabetes Associates practice, with drug studies and other cutting edge investigations undertaken to help people with diabetes.
Outreach clinics to see patients, were requested by nurses in far western Kansas who had participated in the ADAK (American Diabetes Association-Kansas) professional education programs. Initially clinics were established in Jetmore, Ness City, Colby, Great Bend and Liberal. Parsons and Manhattan/Wamego were added in the late 1990’s. Terry Burlakoff RN and Karon Giles RN were instrumental in the coordinating the first outreach clinics. For many years, Dr. Neismith’s (VitreoRetinal Consultants) staff also attended these clinics to do eye exams as part of a CDC funded study. Initially staff flew to these clinics. Today, staff drives to these clinics after they have completed a day of work in the clinic. Diana Guthrie, PhD. RN now coordinates the outreach clinics.
Professional credentialing is very important. Diana Guthrie, Debbie Hinnen, Lindy Childs, Diana Rhiley, and Judy Freisen all took the initial Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) exam in 1986 and continue to work in the field of diabetes and have maintained their certification. The State of Kansas recognizes Diana, Debbie, and Lindy as Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners. Debbie, Diana and Lindy also have the new advanced diabetes manager credential from American Nurses Credential Center, Board Certified Diabetes Manager (BC-ADM). Today we have a total of nine Certified Diabetes educators on staff.
Over the last 35 years systems have been put in place to provide the best diabetes care in the region from the education program to the systems in the office. Protocols are carried out by the staff to ensure that the American Diabetes Association Standards of Care are delivered. Dr. Guthrie received Provider Recognition from the American Diabetes Association in 1998 and has maintained that certification every three years.
Diana Guthrie, RN, Ph.D. was the only member of the diabetes team to stay at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. She continued to provide diabetes education and was the coordinator of the medical students, physician assistant students, residents, and nursing students. Dr. Guthrie and Debbie Hinnen, ARNP, MN maintained faculty appointments and are active in medical and nursing education. Lindy, Debbie, and Diana hold adjunct faculty appointments at Wichita State University with the Department of Nursing. Clinical rotations currently are available to medical residents, pharmacy, medical, nursing, and physician assistant students. Training the next generation in the team approach to good diabetes care has been a strong focus of the diabetes program from its inception.
Diana Guthrie retired from KU in 1999 and transferred her energies full time to the MADA staff. She coordinates the seven outreach clinics and sees patients one day a week at the current practice location.
Support of the diabetes community and to patient and public education is obvious through the various activities of the original nucleus staff of Mid-America Diabetes Associates. All staff participates in providing professional and public education. Much of the staff is involved with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Camp Discovery for children, which is a two-week program. Drs. Richard and Diana Guthrie, Debbie Hinnen, and Lindy Childs have served on the National ADA Board. Lindy is a past President, Health Care and Education (96-97) for the National ADA organization. Debbie Hinnen is past President of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) (94-95). Dr. Richard Guthrie and Debbie are past members of the Board of Directors for AADE. All four individuals served on the Kansas ADA Affiliate Board and have served as past Presidents of the Affiliate Board. Dr. Guthrie has been President of the Mid-America Region of the American Diabetes Association.
Dr. Guthrie has received the Outstanding Service to Youth Award (1992) and the Outstanding Physician Clinician Award (2003) from ADA. Diana Guthrie has received ADA’s Outstanding Educator Award and AADE’s Distinguished Service Award. Debbie Hinnen has been awarded ADA’s Outstanding Educator Award and AADE’s Distinguished Service Award. Lindy received ADA’s Rachmiel Levine Award in 1997.
The current clinic staff has an average tenure of 10 years. The clinical support staff includes three diabetes educator FTE’s (filled by 5 CDE’s), Licensed Practical Nurses, a dietitian, medical assistant/phlebotomists, research assistant, front desk support, business office support, practice administrator, clinic/research coordinator/nurse practitioner and education coordinator/nurse practitioner.
July of 2005 the education program moved from Via Christi back to Mid America Diabetes Associates. Debbie Hinnen ARNP, CDE and Susan Martin RD, LD, CDE serve as primary faculty with Diana Rhiley and Diana Guthrie serving as counselors and a guest optometrist speaking for each day and evening class.
In September, 2006 Phillip Challans, MD joined the practice. He is particularly interested in children with diabetes. He completed a two year fellowship in diabetes with Dr. Guthrie and the team. Dr. Challans comes with the same mission driven focus of the Dr. Guthrie’s. We are delighted to have him join the practice.
The Guthrie's have chosen not to retire but to continue to live a mission driven life. Many years ago, they were called to be "diabetes warriors" and they have chosen to continue that mission. They continue to attend the outreach clinics in seven communities as well as work and develop the clinic in Wichita.