My new interview series, REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2014 includes experts in technology, the arts, well-being and social good. It is an exciting group of creative thought leaders and enlightened personalities. Some are extraordinary examples of social responsibility; others are creating game changing paradigm shifts in their market segments.
Helaine Ciporen, the founder of Diabetes Families, discusses her past experience, current focus, and insights about how the world is emerging.
Profile: Helaine Ciporen has been a licensed therapist and clinical social worker in private practice for more than 20 years. She holds a Masters degree from Columbia University in clinical social work with children and families. She also holds a Masters degree from Bank Street College of Education in learning disabilities. Ms. Ciporen counsels families coping with chronic illnesses including diabetes and cystic fibrosis at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. Helaine teaches at Mount Sinai’s School of Medicine and is an adjunct professor at Columbia School of Social Work. She has established global recognition for her work and received the Health Throughout Life Span Award at the International Changing Health Conference in Ireland.
Helaine is one of the earliest pioneering activists in preventing diabetes and obesity in children. Her efforts include articles for professional journals, clinical research, lectures and the creation of diabetesfamilies.com.
Mary Olson: How have your views changed as you look back on your experience?
Helaine Ciporen: I am not sure that my views have changed as much as they have become integrated. I have gained knowledge from various perspectives; from my background in the arts, as a member of the launch team of MTV in the early days of the cable industry, as a psychotherapist and as a team member at the Mount Sinai Pediatric Diabetes Clinic. I had a bird’s eye view watching the emergence of a new and needless epidemic, type 2 diabetes in children. My experience in different industries has knit together in my efforts to find solutions to this major healthcare dilemma.
Mary Olson: How do you see the way the world is emerging?
Helaine Ciporen: On a micro-level, I see life as a daily series of problems to be solved. The better you get at that, the more interesting and complex the problems you can address. The also applies on the macro-level. The world is grappling with fundamental issues of survival, especially in ecology and healthcare. However, we also have such amazing new tools in technology and communications. An important change is that we are breaking down professional silos to bringing a variety of talents and skills together to resolve these problems. I believe human creativity, intelligence and love will carry us forward.
Mary Olson: I understand that you developed the interactive digital tool, DiaBeaters for families who have, or are at risk for type 2 diabetes.
Helaine Ciporen: I developed DiaBeaters in conjunction with Columbia University’s School of Social Work and the Center for New Media in Teaching and Learning. DiaBeaters is a five session interactive computer-based intervention tool to eliminate type 2 diabetes by fostering healthy habits of families and children to ensure lifelong maximization of good health. It is currently in use as a counseling tool at the Hall Family Center, Mount Sinai Medical Center, NYC and Columbia’s social work classrooms to train graduate students.
I would like to make it available to other clinics and classrooms and repurpose it for other healthcare concerns.
Mary Olson: How else do you envision the future?
Helaine Ciporen: One answer comes from the age-old question, “How do I bring meaning to my life?” Alternatively, how will I use what I have to offer for the greater good and to help others to grow?
The answer is crystal clear. I will continue to focus on the well-being of others.