Diabetes Self-Management: 36 Years and Still Going Strong

In November, the national and global diabetes communities observe two significant campaigns: National Diabetes Month[1], founded in 1975, is an annual occasion to spread awareness of diabetes and the impact it has on millions of people in the United States, as well as to raise funds to further the search for a cure. And World Diabetes Day[2], celebrating 29 years in 2019, is an international awareness campaign held on November 14 each year, marking the birthday of Frederick Banting, one of the researchers who discovered insulin in 1922.

With this annual spotlight on awareness and advocacy, we were inspired to take a stroll down memory lane and look back at the nearly 40-year journey we have shared with our readers.

In the beginning

Founded in 1983, Diabetes Self-Management is the brainchild of a New Jersey man named Tom Jones. A routine health test to qualify for a life insurance policy led to an unexpected discovery ⁠— type 2 diabetes[3]. The first person diagnosed with the condition in his family, he was worried about the implications for his future, and sought resources to help him understand his new normal and learn ways to better manage the condition. To his dismay, the options were few and far between. Not to be deterred, Jones set out to fill the gap himself and create a new experience for people on the same journey ⁠— whether newly diagnosed or a veteran of the condition, managing type 1[4] or type 2, living with or caring for someone with diabetes, everyone in the diabetes community would find information to help them live happier, healthier lives.

Teaming up with New York City publisher Richard A. Rapaport and a small band of dedicated employees, Jones had just formed the very beginnings of the publication you’re reading[5] today. With grassroots, boots-on-the-ground efforts, they spread word of the fledgling periodical, with Jones even donning a custom-made, silk baseball jacket emblazoned with the Diabetes Self-Management logo to pique curiosity among the public.

An August 1983 article in The New York Times announced[6] the birth of the publication: “Diabetes Self Management will be published three times a year beginning Nov. 15. It is coming from Imagimedic Productions of Long Island City, which already publishes Practical Diabetology, which has editions for physicians and for pharmacists.”

Tom Jones -- Diabetes Self-Management founder[7]
Tom Jones (left) pictured with other members of the Diabetes Self-Management team.


Diabetes Self-Management milestones

1983: First issue is published

1998: Website debuts[8]

2015: Madavor Media acquires Diabetes Self-Management[9] and headquarters move to Braintree, Massachusetts

2015: Diabetes Self-Management adds the award-winning recipes[10] of Diabetic Cooking[11]

2019: Fresh redesign of Diabetes Self-Management


Addressing fundamental concerns such as how to check and manage blood sugar levels[12], what to eat[13], the best ways to exercise[14], what devices[15] and medications to choose from, how to maintain emotional health[16], and more, Diabetes Self-Management was off and running, helping hundreds of thousands of people with diabetes within its very first year.



A continuing legacy

Kathy Jones Rizzi, Tom Jones’s daughter, has been with Diabetes Self-Management since the beginning and is still working on the publication 30 years later in a senior ad salesposition. “[Jones] was a marketer first, and under his tutelage I received the best marketing education one could ask for,” says Jones Rizzi. ” I not only learned how to sell, but by watching his extraordinary ‘people skills’ I learned how to network, thus becoming a successful sales person.”


Ever evolving

Our mission to help people with diabetes live happier, healthier lives has remained the same from those early days, but just as diabetes devices, research and treatments have evolved over the years, so too has Diabetes Self-Management. We’ve recently debuted the first installment of a fresh, new design for our magazine, created with you, the reader, in mind. We’ve added a regular feature on travel, included a handy recipes index, provided additional tips and tools to help you put the advice you find on these pages into practice in your own life, and made everything easier to find and more fun to read.

The early Diabetes Self-Management website[17]
“When we first launched the Diabetes Self-Management website, back in the late nineties, it was really nothing more than an online subscription brochure. As we slowly started adding content we were surprised and gratified at how fast it grew and at the overwhelmingly positive response from our readers.” — Jason Pomerantz, Vice President, Strategy


Awards and accolades

• 367 National Health Information Awards

• Gold Web Health Award

• Silver W3 Award

• A top diabetes blog for 2019[18] and 2018 by Healthline

• A top type 2 diabetes blog for 2019[19] by Everyday Health

• A top type 2 diabetes blog for 2018[20] by medication tracker app MyTherapy


Our commitment to you

Although a lot has changed over the years, one thing has never wavered: Our commitment to you. We aspire to provide you not only with information, but encouragement and hope, on our pages. Thank you for joining us on this journey for the past four decades. Your courage, determination and strong will move and inspire us. Here’s to many more years of learning and growing together!


Diabetes Self-Management magazine by the numbers

• Founded in 1983

• 6 issues per year

• Nearly 7 million readers annually

Diane Fennell[21]

Diane Fennell

Editorial Director of the Wellness Division, Fennell has 16 years’ experience specializing in diabetes and related health conditions. Based in New York City, she has a degree from Columbia University.


  1. National Diabetes Month: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/about-diabetes/general-diabetes-information/ten-ways-to-observe-national-diabetes-month/
  2. World Diabetes Day: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/getting-ready-world-diabetes-day-2019/
  3. type 2 diabetes: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/diabetes-resources/definitions/type-2-diabetes/
  4. type 1: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/diabetes-resources/definitions/type-1-diabetes/
  5. publication you’re reading: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/subscribe/
  6. The New York Times announced: https://www.nytimes.com/1983/08/09/business/advertising-free-magazine-set-for-diabetics.html
  7. [Image]: //cdn.diabetesselfmanagement.com/2019/11/Screen-Shot-2019-11-18-at-12.06.13-PM.png
  8. Website debuts: https://web.archive.org/web/19980614074812/http://www.diabetes-self-mgmt.com/
  9. acquires Diabetes Self-Management: https://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/01/prweb11520410.htm
  10. adds the award-winning recipes: https://www.madavor.com/madavor-media-acquires-diabetic-cooking-magazine
  11. Diabetic Cooking: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/recipes/
  12. check and manage blood sugar levels: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/blood-glucose-management/
  13. what to eat: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/nutrition-exercise/meal-planning/
  14. ways to exercise: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/nutrition-exercise/exercise/
  15. devices: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/diabetes-resources/tools-tech/
  16. emotional health: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/emotional-health/
  17. [Image]: //cdn.diabetesselfmanagement.com/2019/11/Screen-Shot-2019-07-16-at-1.26.23-PM.png
  18. 2019: https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/best-blogs-of-the-year
  19. 2019: https://www.everydayhealth.com/type-2-diabetes/living-with/best-type-2-diabetes-blogs/
  20. 2018: https://www.mytherapyapp.com/blog/top-10-diabetes-blogs-2018
  21. [Image]: //cdn.diabetesselfmanagement.com/2019/06/DFennell-Headshot.jpg

Source URL: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/diabetes-self-management-36-years-and-still-going-strong/

Diane Fennell: Diane Fennell has been an editor at Diabetes Self-Management magazine since 2003. She is currently the Editorial Director. (Diane Fennell is not a medical professional.)

Disclaimer of Medical Advice: Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information, which comes from qualified medical writers, does not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs.