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Karen Graham and husband Rick Durand, Kelowna, BC

Karen Graham

Registered Dietitian & Certified Diabetes Educator

"Early in my career, 40 years ago now, there were very few easy-to-understand resources for teaching diabetes and for people to take home. Diabetes is complicated to understand, it is a disease that affects almost every part of the body, and I knew I had to create plain language resources to help people."

Karen went on to write Diabetes Meals for Good Health Cookbook with 70 complete meals and 100 recipes, each with carefully counted calories and each pictured full size. This ground-breaking book showed people the exact amount of food to eat as part of managing their diabetes at home. It was phenomenally successful with 325,000 copies in print and multiple editions as she continually keeps up with dietary trends. This book was translated into French, Polish and Japanese.

During her 30-year career as a diabetes educator, working in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Karen's desire to make a difference broadened from teaching one-on-one and group sessions in her community to teaching other health educators across Canada. Karen's work has always been about making diabetes easy to see, easy to understand and easier for others to share that information. She conducted hundreds of interviews by television, newspapers and radio. She produced DVDs, posters, presentation tool kits, resource pamphlets and calendars and presented at conferences; her engaging presentations filled the rooms with as many as 1,000 people in attendance.

With all her experience gained teaching and talking with others in her field, she realized there was still missing the easy, everyday language books to explain every aspect and important detail of diabetes. She took on writing her second book, the Complete Diabetes Guide with 150,000 in print today. This exhaustive book is loaded with pictures, diagrams and easy explanations, plus she included another 15 complete meals. It is an amazing resource for educators, but especially for people with diabetes to help them understand and make positive lifestyle changes to overcome the challenges and struggles of living with diabetes.

Karen's third book in her Health & Wellness Series was just published last year, Diabetes Essentials. This brilliant work of all the essential diabetes topics, 52 of them, each one explained in 10 easy points with beautiful photographs; plus she included another 40 recipes. Everyone who is reading this book will learn and know what diabetes is and what they can do to help themselves the very best way they can.

Karen is presently active on @DiabetesBooks Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and recently her TikTok account. Karen's platforms provide ongoing essential evidence-based nutrition and medical information. She is extremely pleased to include guest posts by Dr. Shomali, a renowned endocrinologist who practices in Baltimore. Dr. Shomali partnered with Karen as a co-author on the most recent editions of her updated books in the Health & wellness Series 2020, bringing his wealth of diabetes expertise.

Karen is passionate about teaching and writing. Her career experience combined with her genuine caring personality, has proven that her lifetime commitment to diabetes-friendly information is worthwhile and rewarding to us all. When asked why her book are so successful, Karen says, "They answer the questions people ask about diabetes, and they are so beautiful which always helps inspire and encourage change."

Ten years ago, Karen moved to Kelowna, British Columbia. She works as a Public Health Dietitian for Interior Health, with a focus on prevention and population health. She coordinated the multi-layered Breastfeeding Systems Change Project.

Awards: Karen's books have won numerous awards including the Dietitians of Canada and Kraft Canada, Regional Speaking of Food and Eating Award. Karen has also won awards such as the Outstanding Performance in Community Nutrition Award by the Manitoba Association of Registered Dietitians and the Diabetes Canada, Thompson-Okanagan Professional Section, Diabetes Educator Day Outstanding Contribution Award.

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Karen has been interviewed on national television and radio, and reviewed in hundreds of newspapers, magazines and professional journals. Karen has been a key note speaker at conferences and diabetes Expos across Canada.

She brings the experience of Certified Diabetes Educator who has successfully completed nutrition/teaching contracts for Health Canada, Dietitians of Canada, Manitoba Health, and Yellowquill College.

She also has Professional Memberships with the College of Dietitians of British Columbia; Diabetes Canada, Professional Section; and the National Aboriginal Diabetes Association.

Karen has won numerous awards for her diabetes education experience and has released and sold many professional publications on diabetes over the last 30 years.

Karen is known for her enthusiastic, fun and practical public presentations on diabetes as well as her valuable train-the-trainer workshops for diabetes workers and professionals.  She has presented at regional, national and international conferences. Here are some comments from participants at a Health Canada Conference:

  • Excellent speaker who is very down-to-earth and gives excellent examples.

  • Awesome!

  • Wonderful entertaining knowledge-packed presentation. Thank you!

  • Demonstrations and book guidelines were excellent.

  • Provides practical information that is possible to implement.

  • Demos were great!

  • Excellent presentation with great teaching aids.

  • Very strong teaching style.

  • Knowledgeable speaker with practical tips. Easy to understand – examples given are excellent.

  • Great presentation!

  • Loved her demonstrations and book and explanations. Fabulous. Best of the whole conference.

  • Hugely helpful. Thanks!

  • Wonderful presenter! Best presentation yet.

  • Excellent comparisons – a real eye opener.

If you would like Karen to speak at your conference or for your organization or community group, please contact her for information about previous speaking engagements, scheduling and fees. Her speaking engagements are generally booked at least six months in advance.

Awards

  • 2017: Diabetes Canada, Thompson-Okanagan Professional Section, Diabetes Educator Day Outstanding Contribution Award, November 27, 2017

  • 2012 & 1999: Dietitians of Canada and Kraft Canada, Regional Speaking of Food and Eating Award, 2012 for Complete Diabetes Guide and 1999 for Meals for Good Health

  • 2005: National Health Information Award, Health Promotion Disease and Injury Prevention Information

  • 1997:Manitoba Association of Registered Dietitians and Manitoba Milk Producers,  Outstanding Performance in Community Nutrition Award

  • 1995: Manitoba Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Literacy nomination by Manitoba Association of Registered Dietitians

Presentations

Explaining Diabetes