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ALMA MATTERS EXTRAORDINARY ALUM Monica Joyce (BS ’73) • Registered dietitian, diabetes educator

Monica Joyce (BS ‘73) has made a career out of helping people make healthy choices. She’s the author of Too Busy to Diet, a book on eating well with a busy schedule. She’s also the founder of a basketball camp for children with diabetes.

DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD • “The explosion of interest in nutrition and eating healthy is exciting and wel- come. There is a paradox at the same time—we have unreliable sources of info. Diets that aren’t based on science are sometimes harmful. What’s most important is that people do their homework and know the facts. But I’m glad people are excited about it.”

TOO BUSY TO DIET • “There was a need to address the concerns of busy people, and so I wrote a book. Planning is the most important thing. That surfaces every single day. If you haven’t planned and shopped, what are you going to eat?”

STAND UP, GUY • “One of the things I’ve learned is that we’re sitting far too much. Especially young people who work longer days and sit at computers—they’re sitting still for much longer than I ever was as a young person. How much you move, fidget, and walk around during the day is just as important as 45 minutes at the health club.”

SPARK OF INSPIRATION • “Dia- betes is one of the biggest health challenges of the 21st century. I saw a need to educate children about it in a fun way and came up with the idea

of a basketball camp. I was thinking about the children that couldn’t af- ford to go to expensive camps or had transit issues, and I knew we needed to set something up for them.”

SERENDIPITY • “I was discussing the idea of the basketball camp with a patient, who thought it was a great idea. She said, ‘Put it down on paper, and Bob will take it to Jerry.’ It turns out she was the wife of Bob Judelson, who was on the board of the Chicago Bulls, and he took it to Jerry Reins- dorf, the chairman of the board. They loved the idea.”

BULLS-HEADED • The Bulls helped establish the Moses E. Cheeks Foundation Slam Dunk for Diabetes

Basketball Camps. The camps are free, and Slam Dunk for Diabetes is a nonprofit organization designed to educate campers about the re- lationship between food, exercise, and insulin while teaching basket- ball skills. The camp, which cel- ebrates its 10-year anniversary this year, continues to grow because of grants, donations, and fundraisers. Slam Dunk has five locations in the Midwest, and a sixth camp opened in Memphis, Tennessee, this year.

KEEPING IT FUN • “We found a need, and the children love it. My philosophy is that I want this to be fun, and I want them to learn while they’re doing.“

MAKING IT STICK • “Educators do blood sugar tests before kids hit the court, and then pull them to the sidelines, to see how they’re doing and whether they can keep playing. In a physician’s office or classroom, they remember what you say for two seconds. But when they can’t get back on the court, they become very anxious to resume play. The educators make recommendations at the end of the day so that they can prevent these situations. The next day, the kids eat a different breakfast or make an insulin adjustment. These are the teaching moments that are so impactful.”


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