Theresa is one of those rare health care professionals who truly appreciates the emotional aspects of living with diabetes and how that impacts behavior. We first met at an AADE conference many years ago while discussing her work as a cartoonist. Since that time, we have often found ourselves together on a variety of professional advisory panels and I am always impressed by what she brings to the table, especially her remarkable visual perspective. She is a rare bird, but a fun and talented one with whom I enjoy collaborating.
William H. Polonsky, PhD, CDE
President, Behavioral Diabetes Institute
Associate Clinical Professor, University of California, San Diego
Theresa provides a unique combination of creative energy and clinical expertise, which is reflected in the depth and quality of her work. She is able to effectively convey concepts and content using a variety of humor, illustrations, verbal or written media. As a consultant, she is easy to work with, always professional, and reliably provides deliverables on schedule.
Lynne K Lyons, MPH, RD, CDE
Scientific Affairs Manager Scientific Affairs Department
Abbott Diabetes Care
Theresa is a unique individual with an amazing talent of leading a group of individuals and transforming them into a well woven team. As our clinic manager, she laid a solid foundation not only by forming a formidable team but also by establishing a team of well trained individuals and defining a framework for how the Madison Clinic should function and the roles of each employee. When my staff come to ask me now a question, I find myself thinking “how would Theresa have handled this”. She is missed, but we wish her the best of luck as she sets on a new career direction.
Saleh Adi, MD
Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
Director, Madison Clinic for Pediatric Diabetes
UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital
Theresa has always had a gift for making health education fun and interesting. As a writer and illustrator, she manages to find a fresh spin on even the most mundane topics. Her expertise as a clinician and health educator shines through in her ability to connect with a broad audience and convey technical concepts in easy-to-understand terms.
“She is also the consummate professional; in the eight years I worked with her at dLife, Theresa never missed a deadline and always provided thoughtful, actionable feedback in her role as a medical advisory board member. I would highly recommend her to anyone looking for a smart, forward-thinking healthcare communicator.
Editor, Writer, Producer
Former Chief Content Officer – dLife
Former Executive Producer – dLifeTV
Over the years I have worked with many authors, but it’s rare to work with someone as accomplished as Theresa Garnero. Not only is she a highly trained nurse and skilled diabetes educator, but she listens carefully to her patients and has this uncanny ability to take complicated information and turn it into compassionate advice that they can easily understand. She is the quintessential communicator.
Victor Van Beuren
Senior Manager, Book Acquisitions
American Diabetes Association
I’ve known Theresa for over 20 years. I have partnered with her in diabetes education through our work and through her non-profit organization, Dance Out Diabetes. She is client focused, and empathetic. She has a deep knowledge of diabetes and knows how to individualize her wealth of information to fit each person with whom she works. She has an ability to think “outside the box.” That and her diabetes knowledge have led to an amazing number of patients who still remember her and how she helped them years later. If you want a diabetes educator who will help you improve your health, Theresa is an excellent choice.
Michelle Barth, MS, RD, CDE
I had the privilege of working for Theresa when she was in charge of the Center for Diabetes Services (CDS) at California Pacific Medical Center, a Sutter affiliate. The CDS is one of the largest diabetes programs in California, and Theresa led a team of nurses, dietitians, support staff, medical students, endocrinologists and volunteers providing care to adult and pediatric patients diagnosed with diabetes in both the inpatient and outpatient setting.
“Theresa was a strong leader within Sutter for best practices in diabetes treatment. She established the Sutter Wide Diabetes Network, which is still used by professionals from various disciplines in Sutter to share best practices in diabetes care. Her ability to work well and coordinate with these various disciplines as well as with hospital administration has made CDS one of the strongest and most well respected diabetes centers in California.
“Theresa is also a compassionate caregiver who approaches each patient with a sense of genuine warmth and concern. Whether it’s setting up a patient with an insulin pump or encouraging an isolated patient to join one of the support groups, Theresa instills her patients with a sense of calm and confidence that they are not alone in their efforts to manage their diabetes.
“On a personal level, Theresa is a creative, high energy, brilliant and passionate person. She inspires everyone to do his or her best. Theresa is always very mindful when she is with you. She has a witty and warm sense of humor, excellent listening skills, and can provide direct and honest feedback, all of which make her a wonderful manager and nurse. Theresa is truly a gem and I feel honored that I have had the opportunity to work with a woman with such enormous talent.
Carol Baillie, RN, BSN, CDE
What do you call a leader like Theresa? Who comes in with impressive credentials and proves that it’s the person behind the degrees that shines? Yes, she has crazy skills, but it was her brilliance, warmth, humor, creativity and especially openness that made my time working with her continue to glow. Honestly, how often does a boss, “get” you in a way that not only brings out your best, but leaves you laughing?
Karen Weissmann, LCSW, CDE
As a Registered Dietitian working in patient and employee education and training I’ve put together many programs, so over my career I have seen many good presenters. Every now and then you get the pleasure to experience a great speaker. One who stands out. One that the audience remembers as being special. Above the norm. A memorable presentation that stays with you. One such speaker is Theresa Garnero. She is on point. Professional, yet relaxed and entertaining. I’ve seen her speak to lay audiences and professional colleagues. She knocks it out of the park every time.
Kevin L Rayburn, RD
If you are facing a life-changing event, going it alone may not be the best choice for your physical or mental health. It takes courage to ask for help and, if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, having Theresa by your side will likely energize your ability to deal with all aspects of your personal diabetes journey. I am very grateful to her for helping me through the tough times with her compassion, her expertise and her never-quit attitude. While working with her, I discovered that Theresa is much more than a coach ─ she is a highly-skilled advocate.
“As I look back, I notice that I went through stages of grief after being diagnosed with diabetes ─ denial, anger, vulnerability, depression and acceptance. At first, I thought the tests have to be wrong. Then, I was angry that my body was failing me. Next, I felt I had lost control of my life. Then, I was overwhelmed with a profound sadness. Now, I have ‘made friends’ with my body once again. Being a diabetic has become my new normal. As they say, life is not a race, it’s a marathon, and I consider myself very lucky to have Theresa with me as I continue to navigate through my own diabetes experience.
Sandy – with type 1 diabetes
I met Theresa Garnero as the founder of Dance Out Diabetes several years ago, when I was looking for an effective method to treat my own type 2 diabetes. The program was the most powerfully effective form of community medicine I had ever observed, much less participated in. It targeted to major communal groups with diabetes. A monthly session with perhaps ten volunteer medical professionals who assisted about 50 participants in pre and post sessions recording weight, waist measurement, blood pressure as well as A1C, and glucose before and after the dance session.
“Theresa Garnero is not only medically knowledgeable and skilled, but an administrative genius in gathering the people and resources needed for treatment in an age when most medical practice is computer data based and not centered in relationship to the individual. Here the individual feels not only healthier, but totally involved, appreciated, and valued in a community experience.
Margaret – with type 2 diabetes
For about 28 years, I handled my type 2 diabetes with diet, exercise, and staying thin. Having a medical device and pharmaceutical background, I did my research and due diligence. I was on a protocol of Avandia, Metformin, and Victoza. My goal was to remain insulin free FOREVER! Life has a funny way of changing our plans. A year ago I began to struggle with high blood sugars. I was too thin. I was exhausted and depressed. I was also experiencing terrible gastric episodes. Feeling lousy had become my new normal. After reading an article Theresa had written I called her. She answered the phone and the rest is history.
“This woman I had never met quietly listened to my story. Theresa then asked me the ‘million dollar’ question. “Karen, what are your thoughts around insulin?” There was no judgment on her part, just a question. In a few minutes Theresa had gotten to the heart of my issue: my belief that insulin = all things BAD! Her years of experience demystifying diabetes for patients were obvious. Theresa knew me! Her ability to understand my personality as it related to my disease was nothing short of a miracle. Others had tried to reach me and failed.
“Theresa gently explained my pancreas was tired and needed help. My body was starved for insulin, just like the other hormones we need in our body to function properly. She is the perfect combination of science, compassion, and, so important, humor. I credit Theresa with saving me physically and mentally. I was a mess. She calmed my fears and transitioned me into the new poster child for insulin… who knew?!
“It’s one thing to help those of us who are newly diagnosed with diabetes; however, it takes an extraordinary person to undo 28 years of a core belief system that is no longer viable.
“Theresa with her education, experience, and accomplishments was able to guide me on my journey to diabetes health. Her positive attitude never wavered. As Theresa became more involved in my case, she uncovered some disturbing issues. The very medications I had been taking were making me sick. They no longer worked and were putting me in harm’s way.
“With Theresa’s guidance and working with my provider, I went on insulin therapy. She would not have mandated it but rather she supported my decision. Had I refused, she would have supported that decision too. Her promises of a better life came true. Today I have boatloads of energy. I have no gastric problems and I’m immensely happy, hooray!
“I am honored to call Theresa a friend and mentor. I am forever grateful for her amazing gifts. She took me by the hand and showed me insulin was also my friend. It should be noted, my husband noticed a significant difference in my well-being and happiness level and he is also grateful for Theresa’s help in making this happen.
Karen – with type 2 diabetes
I feel fortunate to have had Theresa Garnero as a mentor. She is a dynamic, intelligent, and empathetic practitioner who has been an outstanding influence on me as I studied to become a dietitian. We met after I stumbled across her article on the Somogyi effect and decided to contact her through the web. I shared my interest in diabetes and she offered to help me with my path. Theresa suggested I go to the UCSF Becoming a Diabetes Educator conference. It made me feel confident about making a difference as an upcoming dietitian. She also helped with my resume and as a strategist during the application process.
“As a Dance Out Diabetes volunteer (which Theresa founded and ran), I witnessed the positive care she and her team gave to each participant. Theresa treats people as individuals and makes each person feel special. She truly listens and caters a realistic plan to empower and hopefully improve outcomes and quality of life. She was meant to be a nurse, meant to help others and to be a mentor. As healthcare providers, it is our duty to treat patients as people, and to mentor, and Theresa takes that seriously.
“Theresa obviously works very hard, but she is more than an impressive resume and list of accomplishments. Theresa is a real person and an example of how I wish every practitioner would be.
Hanna Rifkin, Registered Dietitian
I have known Theresa since July 2007 when she hired me as an outpatient diabetes educator. I found Theresa to be an excellent communicator. Her knowledge and skills as a diabetes educator was both well read and intuitive. She was very well organized and punctual. Most importantly she was extremely reliable and could always be counted on to do her part and more. She had the ability to be supportive and expectant that one would achieve the goals of the department and one’s personal goals. Always encouraging one to be their best self.
Over the years since meeting Theresa I have seen her growth through her clinical work and her passion for her nonprofit work. Her passion is contagious and she cares very deeply for the cause of diabetes. She works tirelessly toward creating awareness of diabetes risk and self-management. She is truly an incredible woman and a visionary. I look forward to seeing the impact of her contributions to the field of diabetes. Diabetes has a voice, specifically a female voice that empowers and connects people to their potential and hope for the future. I call her many things, professional, colleague, champion, resource, mentor, writer, and knowledgeable but most of all I call her “friend”.
Vida Reed, RN, CDE