Published: Dec. 6, 2016

Helping parents of children with type 1 diabetes

Contact(s): Katharine Murray Advertising and Public Relations office: (517) 884-8892

Bree Holtz, assistant professor in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, and her team have received a Science and Society at State award totaling $10,000 to develop and test a website portal for parents of children with type 1 diabetes.

According to Holtz, the portal will provide information on positive parent communication and problem solving skills. Additional portal information will include how to educate and communicate with secondary caregivers (schools, coaches, etc.), current diabetes research through trusted websites and resources on treatment options. The portal will also connect to a private and moderated Facebook group for parents of children with type 1 diabetes.

“Caring for a child with type 1 diabetes is extremely demanding and stressful for the entire family,” Holtz said. “The parents take most of the responsibility for disease management and this can cause additional strain on their emotional and physical well-being. This portal aims to alleviate some of that strain by providing a reliable and supportive space for information and advice.”

“This team perfectly encapsulates our mission to promote interdisciplinary collaboration on MSU’s campus,” said Georgina Montgomery, director of Science and Society at State. “We anticipate this project will contribute to innovation through the collaboration between the colleges of Communication Arts and Sciences and Nursing, as well as Human Development and Family Studies and MSU Extension, and into the health community.”

Holtz’s team consists of specialists in the field of diabetes and communication and includes Shelia Cotten, Department of Media and Information; Denise Hershey, College of Nursing; Amy Nuttall, Department of Human Development and Family Studies; Taiwoo Park, Department of Media and Information; Katharine Murray, Department of Advertising and Public Relations; and MSU Extension educators.

Additionally, clinical expertise in pediatric endocrinology is provided through team members Julie Dunneback, from Sparrow Health System, and Michael Wood, from the University of Michigan Medical School.

For more information about the research project, email Katharine Murray at