Back to Friends for Life Orlando 2018 FFL Orlando 2018 Faculty


Noor Alramahi was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of six and is the proud mother of three-year-old old twin boys, Rakan and Kareem. She served as a volunteer at her local hospital in the United Arab Emirates, helping newly diagnosed children and their families. Since moving to the San Francisco Bay area in 2012, she has volunteered with the American Diabetes Association in San Jose and works with an organization called Carb DM, that provides support and education for people and families living with type 1 diabetes. She is also part of a local Bay Area type 1 diabetes group called Sugar Mommas that offers support for women in the family planning, pregnancy and motherhood phases. Noor has attended Friends for Life Orlando® for ten years and counting!


Christel Marchand Aprigliano was diagnosed in 1983 with type 1 diabetes and spent her early years wishing it would simply "go away." She now devotes her efforts to many diabetes advocacy and peer support initiatives as the CEO of Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition (DPAC), a non-profit dedicated to amplifying the diabetes voice on federal and state policies; Founder of The Diabetes Collective, Inc., which produces The DiabetesUnConference; a member of Florida's Diabetes Advisory Council, and as a consultant for healthcare companies. You can find her thoughts on life with diabetes on her popular personal blog,


Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 12, Michelle Auerbach is a young influencer and up-and-coming blogger working to spread awareness for people living with type 1 diabetes and other chronic illnesses. Her work has been published on The Mighty, in Maclean’s magazine, and reviews for companies such as Genteel, Lauren’s Hope Medical IDs, and more. Apart from working on her blog, ‘Love, Light, and Insulin’, she spends her time as part of the Global Ambassador Council for Beyond Type 1 and as co-founder of Chronic Love Club, an online community whose vision is that with kindness and support to one another, we can get through anything. Friends for Life is her favorite part of summer, and she is excited to be on her first panel with some people she considers her mentors. She is also a lover of Diet Coke, is owned by her rescue cat named Big, but most of all, loves connecting with other T1D families. You can find her on Instagram @ehmichelle, or on her website


Shana Baker is Vice President, Controller for Buchanan Street Partners, located in Newport Beach, CA. She has been with Buchanan for 12 years and has over 18 years experience in Commercial Real Estate. Shana enjoys giving back to the community, and currently serves on the board for Buchanan Children's Charities and is the President of the Board of Directors for the PADRE Foundation. Her nephew Parker was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of three, so she became involved with the foundation immediately in 2012. Her main goal for PADRE is to expand the program's reach across the US, to continue to educate, and provide support for children and their families living with T1D.


Tadej Battelino, MD, PhD, completed his medical degree at the University of Ljubljana in 1990. He completed a Masters degree, and later a PhD focusing on glucose metabolism in neonatal endotoxic shock in 1996. He completed his clinical fellowship at Loyola University of Chicago, and his postdoctoral fellowship at INSERM, Paris. Professor Battelino is currently Consultant and Head of Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Endocrinology, UMC Ljubljana, Head, Chair of Paediatrics, and Professor of Paediatrics at Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana. He is PI on several research projects in the field of paediatric endocrinology and metabolism and was awarded the Slovene national award for research in 2014, and Gold medal for research at the University of Ljubljana in 2017. Professor Battelino is on the editorial boards for the journals Paediatric Diabetes, Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism and was Editor for the European Journal of Endocrinology from 2009 to 2015. He has authored or co-authored over 200 manuscripts in international peer-reviewed journals and participated chapters to several books. Professor Battelino is a member of numerous professional associations including the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology and the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes, for which he served as President for the 35th Annual Congress. He served on the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) council and is co-organizer of eleven annual meetings of the ATTD (Advanced Technologies and Treatment of Diabetes). Professor Battelino is a regular member of the Slovene Medical Academy and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.


Intissar Ben Halim, MSS, is mom to Maryam, Zakariyya, Abdalla, and Yaseen, and wife to Nabil. She and her family been involved with CWD conferences since 2004. She enjoys meeting other CWD parents and families and sharing stories and challenges. Intissar loves her work as a clinical social worker at a nonprofit agency in West Chester, Pennsylvania, as well as her work as an associate at Cultivating Wholeness, a private practice in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania. She and her family reside in King-of-Prussia.


Angelina Bernier, MD, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Florida in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology. She is the Fellowship Director of the Pediatric Endocrinology Program and the Pediatric Obesity Medical Director where her focus is to establish an efficacious pediatric obesity care center. Aside from clinical responsibility and education, her primary research focus is pediatric diabetes education for which she has developed and is testing newer methods of improving learning for children with diabetes with the goal of establishing a model that can be extended to other pediatric chronic disease conditions.


Diagnosed at age eight, Sam Billetdeaux has always been determined not to let diabetes get in the way of his ambitions. While those ambitions have changed over the years, the determination hasn’t. Sam, now 28, lives in Brooklyn with his girlfriend and enjoys the proximity of many CWD friends for life. He enjoys biking with friends, going to the dog park, and seeking out the best pizza/ramen/coffee/brunch in New York! Sam is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the Institute of Culinary Education.


Amanda Borges is a Miami, Florida native who moved to New York in 2011 to attend New York University's Film and Television Production program. Since Graduating in 2015, she now works at NBCUniversal's Bravo Network, and lives in Brooklyn with her boyfriend Ben Stroud, who was diagnosed with T1 Diabetes in 1998. She'll be working with the Tween Staff, and will be assisting with the Docu-Diabetes project.


Possessing over 25 years of professional experience in health care government relations activities focused on diabetes, Tom Boyer currently serves as director, government affairs for Novo Nordisk Inc. The focus of his work involves handling government affairs issues for the company before elected officials and regulators in the western half of the United States. As of early May 2016, authorship credits over the course of his career include over 75 health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and related laws directly credited with helping families affected by diabetes. Working directly with the diabetes community he helped convince President Bill Clinton and Speaker Newt Gingrich of the need to improve diabetes coverage for the Medicare population, wrote the legislative language to implement this aim and oversaw the public affairs efforts credited with achieving the benefits. He worked more recently with Members of Congress including then Congressman, now Governor, Jay Inslee (WA) and the Bush Administration to create, pass and implement laws providing coverage for diabetes needs within Medicare Part D the prescription drug insurance program for America’s senior citizens.


Susan Brennan has been a Print Sourcing Specialist for The Walt Disney Company, at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California for almost 30 years. Her son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1996 at the age of 15 months. She was immediately introduced to the PADRE Foundation and began attending classes and functions in 1996, becoming part of the PADRE family for almost 21 years. In 2007, she joined the PADRE Board of Directors, and became President of the Board in 2008. She was awarded the Cathie and John Haretakis Award by PADRE in 2013, and has served on several committees such as ADA, and JDRF. She remained president until 2016, and is still an active member of the board. Her passion is to support the families and kids affected by T1D, and is excited for the opportunity to share PADRE's successful model with CWD families to hopefully have a greater impact in the T1D community nationally.


Since his son’s 2002 diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), Bigfoot Biomedical co-founder and CEO Jeffrey Brewer has been a thought leader and influencer in the T1D community. As a JDRF volunteer, donor, and International Board Member, he launched the Artificial Pancreas Project and later served as JDRF's CEO where he forged partnerships with industry to drive R&D of diabetes technologies. He spearheaded regulatory reform and elevated JDRF’s strategic priorities to include healthcare policy, reimbursement, and technology access. Jeffrey’s leadership in the T1D space led to the co-founding of Bigfoot Biomedical in 2014, a Silicon Valley startup dedicated to developing technologies that significantly reduce the cognitive, emotional, and financial burdens of insulin-requiring diabetes. A successful entrepreneur, Jeffrey previously founded two technology start-ups: CitySearch and Overture /


Adam Brown was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2001 and serves as Senior Editor/contributor at and Head of Diabetes Technology & Digital Health at Close Concerns. At both organizations, Adam writes extensively about continuous glucose monitoring, insulin pumps, automated insulin delivery, and mobile apps. He also writes an acclaimed column for, Adam’s Corner, which has brought actionable diabetes tips to over 600,000 people since 2013. In addition to his writing, Adam has shared a patient perspective at many public venues over the past five years, including events for people with diabetes (Friends for Life, TCOYD, JDRF), several FDA Advisory Committees and NIH Workshops, and major diabetes conferences (ADA, AADE). He is passionate about cycling, strength training, nutrition, psychology, and spends his free time outdoors in San Francisco. His first book was published on in Spring 2017.


Bruce Buckingham, MD, is a Professor in the Department of Pediatric Endocrinology at Stanford Medical Center and Stanford Children's Hospital. His research focuses on continuous glucose monitoring in children and closed-loop (artificial pancreas) systems. He has been active as the principal investigator at Stanford in multiple NIH, JDRF and Helmsley sponsored research studies. He is currently doing multicenter closed-loop studies with Medtronic Diabetes, Type Zero, the University of Virginia, Insulet, Bionic Pancreas, Bigfoot Biomedical, Tandem, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Cambridge. His other interests include algorithms for detecting infusion set and sensor failures and to improve infusion set wear duration.


Alan Caudel is the Creative Director of Client-led Partnerships for Drawn from Valor, a 501(c)(3) non-profit animation studio that works with doctors and other specialists to educate and empower those impacted by physical and mental health conditions. Drawn from Valor was created to help children and families live longer, healthier, and happier lives by empowering them to discover new knowledge in an engaging environment at their own pace. Alan also served as Project Lead on Kara and the (not so) Dire Beastie, working closely with Dr. Angelina Bernier and the entire production team in the development of this free animated series. For more information about Alan or Drawn from Valor, please visit


Sarah Corathers, MD, is an adult and pediatric endocrinologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, University of Cincinnati. Her interests include psychosocial aspects of diabetes, use of patient reported outcomes to complement clinical measures, and effective transitioning between pediatric and adult health care settings. Dr. Corathers works nationally with the Type 1 Diabetes Exchange quality improvement learning network to expand depression screening across pediatric and adult clinics.


Kevin Covais is an actor, singer, and diabetes advocate. He is most recognized as a Top 12 Finalist on the fifth season of "American Idol", which aired in 2006. On the show, Kevin was mentored by several award-winning recording artists including Stevie Wonder and Barry Manilow, and he placed 11th overall. Since his "Idol" days, Kevin has transitioned into acting. His credits include a lead role in the 2008 MGM comedy, "College", a supporting role in the family film, "Touchback", starring Kurt Russell, as well as a role in 2014's summer blockbuster, "Transformers: Age of Extinction". Kevin has also made several television appearances including a guest star credit on the FOX show, "Raising Hope". Disney Channel fans know Kevin best as Victor Deleseur on the hit show, "Good Luck Charlie". Kevin was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 11 and has worked with the Diabetes Research Institute for many years. He is thrilled to be a part of Children with Diabetes again after making his first CWD appearance in 2006.


Mountain Climber Will Cross has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1976 when he was diagnosed at the age of nine. Will was told that it was unlikely he would live to be 30 years old because of diabetes. In the 40 years since, he became passionate about high-altitude mountaineering and has ascended the highest peaks on all seven continents and walked to both the North and South Poles. Will seeks to get the message out that if he can control his diabetes in these conditions, no one should feel hindered by diabetes.


Edward Damiano, PhD, is Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University. His educational training is in the areas of biomedical and mechanical engineering and applied mathematics. Over the years, his lab has been engaged in basic scientific research that combine aspects of fluid dynamics, solid mechanics, and intravital microscopy to study the biomechanics of the inner ear and blood flow in the microcirculation. In addition to his basic science research, he has also committed himself to building a bionic pancreas for type 1 diabetes. Ever since his 17-year-old son, David, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 11 months of age, he has set his sights on creating and integrating blood-glucose control technologies with a vision of building a bihormonal (insulin and glucagon) bionic pancreas that David could take to college. He and his engineering team at BU began conducting experiments testing an early version of their bionic pancreas running on a laptop computer in diabetic swine in 2005 and then progressed with their clinical collaborators at the Massachusetts General Hospital through in-patient trials in adults and adolescents with T1D from 2008–2012. From 2013–2016, his team at BU and clinical collaborators conducted seven outpatient clinical trials in adults and children with type 1 diabetes testing a mobile version of their bionic pancreas, which ran on an iPhone. With $2.5MM in donations from over 1,000 gifts from the T1D community, his engineering team at BU along with their contract manufacturers, have recently built the first fully integrated biohormonal bionic pancreas that does not rely upon smartphone technology. They call their device the iLet, in homage to the pancreatic islets of Langerhans. They recently received FDA approval to begin clinical trials testing the iLet in the outpatient setting. Their goal is to begin clinical testing of the iLet in the middle of 2017 and to conduct the final pivotal trial testing the insulin-only configuration of the iLet in the first half of 2018. He recently co-founded Beta Bionics, Inc., a Massachusetts Public Benefit Corporation, for the purpose of commercializing the iLet for people living with type 1 diabetes.


Cynthia M. Deitle, JD, LLM, is the Programs and Operations Director for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, a non-profit organization striving to replace hate with understanding, compassion, and acceptance, and empowering individuals to embrace human dignity and diversity through outreach and advocacy. Prior to her joining the Foundation, she served as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1995 - 2017. During her career with the FBI, she focused her efforts on investigating violations of federal civil rights statutes including police brutality and misconduct, hate crimes, human trafficking, and abortion extremism. Deitle earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from The Ohio State University, her Juris Doctor degree from New England Law Boston, and a Master of Laws degree from both the George Washington University National Law Center and the New York University School of Law. She is a licensed attorney in Tennessee, Florida, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia and is an Adjunct Professor at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN. Deitle was featured in a February 2011 episode of 60 Minutes dealing with an unsolved Civil Rights Cold Case investigation in Mississippi, and she appeared in the first season of Investigation Discovery's series, The Injustice Files in 2011. After her two year old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2013, Deitle and her wife joined the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and attended their first Children With Diabetes Friends for Life (FFL) conference in Orlando. Deitle and her wife, Kristina L. Norris, joined the staff of FFL in 2016 and Deitle joined the FFL faculty in 2017 to address the legal needs of young adults with Type 1 diabetes. She currently serves as the President of the East Tennessee Chapter of the JDRF. Deitle and her family live in Knoxville, Tennessee.


Alessio Fasano, MD, is Chief of Pediatric GI, Director of the Mucosal Biology and Immunology Lab, and Director of the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Fasano is regarded as one of the foremost authorities worldwide on celiac disease, and his epidemiological studies in the United States have changed the preconception that celiac disease is a rare disorder in our county. He will be presenting sessions on celiac disease, which is more common in children with type 1 diabetes than the general population.


Leigh Davis Fickling, MEd, MS, JD, is the Executive Director of the Disability Management System at Duke University. With over 19 years of experience in Higher Education Administration, Leigh has served in a variety of executive leadership roles including Dean of Students and Dean of Campus Life. Leigh's area of expertise is disability law and the implementation of reasonable accommodations in the classroom and the workplace. Leigh and her husband Jimmy are the proud parents to eight-year-old twins, Ava and Davis. Ava was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of three in 2013. With Ava's diagnosis and the need for accommodations in elementary school, Leigh's work life and home life have merged.


Anna Floreen, MSW, CDE, comes to the College Diabetes Network after five years As the Associate Director for Patient Engagement at the T1D Exchange, where she focused on maintaining connectivity between clinics and patient-centered research opportunities for people affected by type 1 diabetes. She has served on multiple national and international committees for non profit organizations and has spoken world-wide. Anna has been living with type 1 diabetes for over 29 years, and spent the majority of her childhood and young adult summers with the Barton Center for Diabetes Education and the JDRF psychosocial speakers bureau. She also serves on the local AADE board, serving as the social media advisor for the state of Massachusetts. Most importantly however, she recently gave birth to a baby girl in the summer of 2017 and lives outside Boston with her husband and new daughter.


Derek Flowers serves as a coalition manager at the Alliance for Patient Access. At AfPA, Flowers oversees the Respiratory Therapy Access Working Group comprised of physicians and respiratory therapists advocating for access to approved therapies and appropriate clinical care. In 2017, Flowers helped AfPA and allied organizations launch the Keep My Rx campaign which brings together a variety of stakeholders to advocate for state-level public policies that protect patients' access to their medications by restricting non-medical switching practices. With a decade of advocacy experience, Flowers helps AfPA ensure that clinicians and patients have their voices heard in policy decisions effecting access to care. Prior to joining AfPA, Flowers worked in education policy and campaign politics. Originally from Iowa, Flowers now resides in Washington, D.C., with his wife Alex.


Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 10, Elizabeth Forrest was determined not to let diabetes negatively impact her life. She connected with the local American Diabetes Association and created an annual benefit show and nonprofit organization, "Dancing for Diabetes." What started as a small neighborhood event quickly transformed into an annual show hosted at Seminole High School and a 501c3 nonprofit organization. In the fall of 2015, Dancing for Diabetes will produce the 15th annual show, due in large part to the loyal supporters, performers, and audience members. Elizabeth has proclaimed that Dancing for Diabetes will continue until a cure is found. Alum of Seminole High School, the University of Florida (Bachelors) and the University of Central Florida (Masters), Elizabeth is currently the Firm Administrator of a large Orlando Law Firm.


Julie Gettings, PhD, is the clinical psychologist within the Division of Endocrinology & Diabetes at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Gettings works with youth and their families on improving adherence to diabetes management tasks, coping with chronic illness, improving family functioning surrounding illness management, and treating symptoms of mental health disorders. Prior to the current position, Dr. Gettings was the diabetes psychologist at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and served in a similar role. Dr. Gettings is involved in clinical research with a particular focus on mental health screening for youth with chronic illness.


Ryan Gough serves as a coalition manager at the Alliance for Patient Access. At AfPA, Ryan manages the Diabetes Policy Collaborative, a patient advocacy coalition comprised of a dozen leading diabetes patient and provider groups - including Children with Diabetes! The Collaborative focuses on influencing public policy that affects people with diabetes at the federal, state, and health plan levels. Ryan cut his teeth in advocacy managing coalitions across the country that work on education policy that protects parents' rights to school choice. Prior to his education and healthcare work, Ryan managed political campaigns in Iowa, Virginia and Massachusetts. Originally a Southerner, Ryan now lives in Boston, MA with his wife, Katie, and his newborn son, Hayes.


Grace Grande-Cassell is very excited to be staffing her seventh year of Friends for Life conferences! She has grown up with a connection to type 1 diabetes because of her grandfather, who was diagnosed at age 14. Grace currently lives in New York City where she works in the fashion industry. She is so happy to be helping at another conference.


Brian Grant, BSN, RN, CDE, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2002. He loves working with people who have diabetes, and is looking forward to serving as faculty at the Friends for Life Orlando conference. He currently resides in King of Prussia, PA, and works as a CDE at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia with a focus on diabetes technology.


Jay Hewitt is an athlete, attorney and keynote speaker. He is the only person with type 1 diabetes to qualify for the U.S. National Long Distance Triathlon Team, racing three years for Team USA at the World Championships in Denmark, Sweden and Australia. He raced 14 ultra distance and Ironman triathlons - a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike race and 26.2-marathon mile run—140 miles in one day, all while injecting insulin and managing his blood sugar. At the same time, he balanced work and life practicing law and presenting appeals to state and federal courts around he country. Jay has been featured on the cover of Diabetes Health, Diabetes Forecast, and many other national publications, and profiled in television documentaries on CNBC, WGN and Lifetime TV. He speaks nationally to business groups and the public about health and wellness, overcoming obstacles and achieving goals, and is the author of the newly-released motivational book Finish Line Vision. He is married with three children and lives in Greenville, S.C.


Marisa E. Hilliard, PhD, is clinical pediatric psychologist whose clinical care and research focuses on supporting the health and well-being of young people with type 1 diabetes and their families. Her work focuses on promoting resilience, specifically how youth and families overcome the challenges of diabetes to most effectively manage diabetes while maintaining good quality of life, and she studies strengths-based clinical approaches to support these outcomes. Dr. Hilliard is especially interested transitional times in diabetes management, such as the adjustment to new T1D diagnosis, how family diabetes management shifts between childhood and adolescence, and how teenagers prepare for life with diabetes as young adults. She also collaborates with professional and patient advocacy organizations to educate mental health providers about diabetes to improve access to behavioral and mental health support for people with diabetes. Dr. Hilliard joined the CWD faculty in 2014 and is currently an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, in the Psychology Section of Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, Texas.


Korey K. Hood, PhD, is Professor of Pediatrics at Stanford University where he directs NIH-funded research projects and provides clinical care aimed at promoting health and quality of life outcomes in youth with diabetes and their families. Dr. Hood actively investigates the human factors associated with the uptake of diabetes technology and works with Dr. Bruce Buckingham on his team's artificial pancreas project. Dr. Hood also serves on national committees for the American Diabetes Association and is on editorial boards for Diabetes Care and the Journal of Pediatric Psychology. Dr. Hood is the author of Type 1 Teens: A Guide to Managing Your Life with Diabetes and a recent book entitled Teens With Diabetes: A Clinician's Guide (with authors Michael Harris, PhD and Jill Weissberg-Benchell, PhD, CDE). His research, clinical care, and service are fueled by his personal experience with type 1 diabetes. He was diagnosed as a young adult and has spent more than 15 years managing type 1 diabetes. He is passionate about helping children and teens with diabetes, and their families, make diabetes a part of their lives while not letting it run their lives.


George Huntley is the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Theoris Group, Inc., a professional services and software company based in Indianapolis, IN with offices throughout the US and Europe. He has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1983 and has been an active volunteer in the fight against diabetes since 1986. George has held many leadership roles with the American Diabetes Association including Chair of the National Board of Directors. George is a founding member and current officer of the National Diabetes Volunteer Leadership Council, a 501c3 organization dedicated to patient advocacy to improve the quality of life for people living with diabetes. George also serves on the board of Children With Diabetes.


Scott K. Johnson is an experienced patient advocate. He works with a wide range of stakeholders across the healthcare environment to help them establish effective communication with the patient community. His expertise in the diabetes social media space is recognized worldwide and he advises organizations within the healthcare, food, and consumer goods industries. Today he is Engagement Manager, USA for mySugr. He continues to manage his award-winning blog “Scott's Diabetes” when time allows. Scott is also a member of the Children with Diabetes faculty where he develops educational curriculums and content for the Friends for Life annual conference and regional events.


Tom Karlya, Vice President of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, is known throughout the diabetes community as Diabetes Dad. He's the creator/author of, a daily syndicated column. His daughter, Kaitlyn, was diagnosed at age 2 in 1992. In 2009, his son Rob was also diagnosed, at age 13. Tom has been introduced to the NY State Capitol, testified in Washington, D.C., and has lectured globally about being a DiabetesDad. With Kim May, a dMom from Texas, he created the website and FB page;, a grassroots effort spreading awareness about the detection/understanding of t1 diabetes. He received numerous commendations for his work in the Diabetes Community from Hurricane Katrina to advocacy initiatives. Tom was awarded The Jeff Hitchcock Distinguished Service Award from CWD in 2008; among many other awards from groups and organizations. For 12 years, as an actor, he starred in the New York Production of Tony 'N Tina's Wedding and also at The Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C., in Summer of the 17th Doll. His film, lbs., was at the Sundance Film Festival, and he appeared in Unsolved Mysteries, Spin City, The Cosby Show, NYPD Blue, Law and Order, America's Most Wanted, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, and numerous commercials. He won 13 Telly Awards, a FREDDIE Award, and was nominated for an Emmy Award while Executive Producer of dLife on CNBC. His mantra; just "Don't do Nothing", is well known throughout the diabetes community. Tom will tell you that above everything else, he's just a CWD Dad.


Kim Kelly, PharmD, BCPS, FCCP, is President of Kelly Diabetes Associates, and former Director of the Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute-North America. Dr. Kelly has a lengthy and distinguished career involving patient care, academic medicine, and organizational involvement including President of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, Chairman of the ACCP Research Institute, and Board of Directors of the College Diabetes Network. His research and experience have included a number of publications, participation on editorial boards and review panels of several journals, involvement in medical curriculum development, and various committees of professional organizations. Currently, his activities center around developing diabetes health management and educational programs for various health care providers and provider organizations. Delighted to work with children and teens alike, Dr. Kelly participated as a volunteer at Friends for Life conferences, where he became 'hooked' in working with the wonderful CWD kids and families.


Jessica C. Kichler, PhD, CDE, is a pediatric psychologist who specializes in working with chronically medically ill children and their families. She is also a certified diabetes educator (CDE). She provides individual, family, and group therapy for all ages of children and their families. In addition, she engages in research, education, and training in the areas of adjustment and coping, adherence, and the psychosocial outcomes of chronic illness in children and families. Dr. Kichler is Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati Medical School, in the Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Timothy Kieffer, PhD, is a Professor in the Departments of Cellular & Physiological Sciences and Surgery and leader of the Diabetes Research Group in the Life Sciences Institute at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. His laboratory is focused on the development of novel gene and cell therapy approaches to treat diabetes. He has co-authored more than 150 peer reviewed publications on these topics in addition to several book chapters and patents. He has mentored ~40 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in addition to numerous undergraduates and is an active teacher. He has received scholarships from the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA), the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, and JDRF. Dr. Kieffer has also been an active reviewer and member of grants review committees for these agencies. In 2010 he received the CDA Young Scientist Award and in 2016 he spent one year on sabbatical at The Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA), Kyoto University.


Aaron Kowalski, PhD, was appointed JDRF's first Chief Mission officer in December 2014 and serves as a key link between JDRF and the broad diabetes community. Dr. Kowalski combines his professional experience as a scientist with his personal experience of living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) for over 30 years to help guide and champion JDRF's programs focused on creating a world without T1D. Dr. Kowalski is an internationally recognized expert in the area of diabetes technologies and has been a leader of JDRF's Artificial Pancreas Research Project, a multi-million dollar initiative that began in 2005 to accelerate the progress toward automated insulin-delivery systems. He has authored numerous articles on T1D research and was a coauthor of the landmark study in The New England Journal of Medicine that revealed the effectiveness of continuous glucose monitors in T1D management. Dr. Kowalski has traveled and spoken globally about diabetes research progress, and is known for his ability to translate science into easily understandable concepts. Dr. Kowalski has presented at many national and international scientific conferences, including the American Diabetes Association Annual Scientific Sessions, and was the keynote speaker at the 2009 Diabetes Technology Society Meeting. He has been a voice for diabetes research in the popular media, appearing on The Martha Stewart Show, dLife, Fox Business, and NPR, among others. He is often quoted in the print media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and People magazine. Dr. Kowalski is a member of the JDRF PEAK Program's expert panel and often speaks about the importance of exercise and diet in better diabetes control. While living with T1D, he has completed 17 marathons. Online, he often tweets (@aaronjkowalski) about exercise and diabetes and how all people with T1D can live their lives without limits. He earned his doctorate in molecular genetics from Rutgers University.


Scott Kyllo lives in British Columbia, Canada. He has two adult children, Alyssa and Chad. Their path along the diabetes road started in 1996 when his son, Chad, then age two, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when they were residing in Bahrain in the Middle East. The World Wide Web had just arrived in Bahrain and it brought to the Kyllo’s the safety of the Children with Diabetes® family. Two years later, when life was becoming somewhat comfortable and routine, Alyssa, then age 7, was also diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Chad was also diagnosed with celiac disease in 2001. The family attended their first Friends For Life® conference in 2002. Getting to meet the CWDers in person was like Christmas in July! Scott is a Chief Information Officer by day and an Aircraft Engineer by night maintaining a Piper Cherokee and a Mooney. These skills and his “MacGyver” qualities keep him running at the Friends For Life® conferences as its Information Technology and Audio/Visual support person. He is a strong advocate of Friends For Life® conferences and believes anyone with a connection to diabetes should attend at least one... although warns that the conferences are much like potato chips—it’s hard to stop at just one!


Lauren Lanning is mom of Monica, 24, dx 8/96 and Sarah, 22. Lauren became involved with CWD shortly after her daughter was diagnosed in 1996. She has been involved in the conferences since the very first gathering in Orlando in 2000, where she volunteered to make name badges. Since then, she ran Registration and then the Elementary program. This year Lauren is excited to continue with the Mom's Meet Ups track in Orlando.


Joyce Lee, MD, MPH, is a Pediatric Endocrinologist and Associate Professor at the University of Michigan Medical School. She has dual training in Pediatric Endocrinology and Pediatric Health Services Research, and her research focuses on the use of emerging technologies (mobile technology, data visualization, participatory game design, social media) and the creation of learning health systems for improving outcomes in diabetes. She is working with the Nightscout community and foundation to create a patient-driven collaborative research network focused on type 1 diabetes. Sign up for our email list to learn more about the research: You can find her on twitter and on the web


Dana Lewis was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2002 as a freshman in high school and is now most known for building her own DIY “artificial pancreas” (automated insulin delivery system, or hybrid closed loop) and founding the open source artificial pancreas movement. She is working with the OpenAPS community to make safe and effective artificial pancreas technology available (sooner) for people with diabetes around the world. She is now a Principal Investigator (PI) for a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded grant project to work to scale patient-led innovation and scientific discovery in more patient communities. Dana is also the author of an illustrated children's book, Carolyn's Robot Relative, to help explain diabetes devices to kids like her nieces and nephews.


Leyla Mansour-Cole, Esq., is a lawyer living and working near Washington, D.C as the Community & Policy Manager of the Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition (DPAC). She attended American University's Washington College of Law, where she was a lead attorney in the Disability Rights Law Clinic, a managing editor of the Health Law and Policy Brief, and a co-symposium director of the Health Law and Justice Society. She also completed internships with the D.C. Board of Medicine and the Children's Law Center's Healthy Together program. Since graduating, she has worked for the government in a policy position. She was also a national organizer for the March for Health, a protest march in support of the Affordable Care Act, which occurred in Washington, D.C. and fourteen other cities across the country. Leyla has been living with type 1 diabetes since her diagnosis in 1995.


Alicia McAuliffe-Fogarty, PhD, CPsychol, Vice President of Patient Centered Research at the T1D Exchange, completed her Fellowships at the Yale University School of Medicine and is a Clinical Health Psychologist specializing in diabetes. She established the Circle of Life Camp, Inc., for children with diabetes that ran internationally for 15 years. Dr. McAuliffe-Fogarty was Head of Behavioral Science at a consulting firm and worked with biotech/pharmaceutical companies to conduct research, plan strategy, and write materials to assist in drug/device submission to FDA, drug labeling, as well as create multi-channel programs to accompany the new drugs and devices. Alicia was the Vice President of the Lifestyle Management Team at the American Diabetes Association prior to joining the T1D Exchange. At the Exchange she supervises Patient-Centered Research and Glu (


Before her young daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1997, Moira McCarthy had accomplished quite a bit as a nationally-competitive freestyle skier, award-winning crime reporter (she was once almost sent to jail for refusing to reveal a source and also helped solve a serial murder), author of books on golf and skiing, and one of the world's best-known ski and adventure writers. But her daughter's diagnosis presented her with the ultimate challenge: how to raise a healthy -- but still active and happy child -- and how to make a difference in the diabetes world. Author of the best-selling books Raising Teens With Diabetes: A Parent Survival Guide and The Everything Parents Guide to Juvenile Diabetes, and creator of the blog Despitediabetes, McCarthy is a well-known national diabetes advocate and speaker, and was JDRF's International Volunteer of the Year in 2007. She and her daughter have been guests on CNN Live, Larry King Live, FOX morning News, Good Morning America and on the front page of the New York Times. Her daughter, who graduated from college and settled in Washington DC (500 miles from mom!) is thriving. Their mantra: despite diabetes, you need to get busy living.


Malissa McQuillan graduated from the University of Delaware in Spring 2017 with a degree in Health Behavior Science and Public Health. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the year 2000 when she was five years old, soon followed by her older sister, and then her dad. While at school, she got involved in T1D research as a Research Assistant, where she looked at how the transition to college affects diabetes related quality of life in freshmen and sophomore students. Additionally, she interned at the local JDRF Chapter, where she realized she wanted to continue her career in the non-profit sector and work with people with T1D!


Rodney Miller has had type 1 diabetes for over 30 years. He competes in powerlifting and strongman, and uses strongman demonstrations as a way to portray type 1 diabetes in a positive light. He is the founder of Bolus and Barbells, a non-profit organization founded on bringing people with type 1 diabetes together while helping them to understand and implement resistance training into becoming healthier versions of themselves. So whether it's deadlifting cars, pulling fire trucks, or hosting Bolus and Barbells events, Rodney is spreading the message of strength both mental and physical to people with diabetes in the world.


Maureen Monaghan, PhD, CDE, is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Health at Children’s National Health System and George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, DC. A licensed clinical psychologist and a certified diabetes educator, Dr. Monaghan has worked for over a decade providing behavioral health care as part of the Child and Adolescent Diabetes Program at Children’s National. Her clinical and research work focuses on helping youth with diabetes and their parents adjust and adapt to new settings and manage their daily medical regimen, while also promoting optimal quality of life. Dr. Monaghan is particularly in working with adolescents and young adults and their diabetes care providers to facilitate a smooth transition from pediatric to adult diabetes care.


Diana M. Naranjo, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. As a trained pediatric and adult psychologist working in behavioral medicine, Dr. Naranjo focuses on the psychosocial needs of patients and families with diabetes. Together with the team, she aims to understand barriers and facilitators to care, what developmental demands are important as adolescent’s transition to adulthood, and how to best provide services that engage young adults and their families. Furthermore, as a Latino-American and fluent in Spanish, much of her clinical work focuses on bridging the health-care gap for underserved ethnic minority patients with type 1 diabetes.


Sean M. Oser, MD, MPH, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just before starting college. Through medical school, graduate school, and residency, as well as through marriage, parenthood, and his professional career, he has learned to make diabetes work at each step along the way. His daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age seven and, since then, he and his wife, Tamara Oser, MD, have discovered Children with Diabetes and other parent and family groups. CWD and its programs have motivated him to join the diabetes online community as well, where he blogs less frequently than he would like to at He is currently Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine at Penn State University College of Medicine and Associate Chief Medical Officer at Penn State Hershey. As medical director of Penn State Hershey’s Camp Hill primary care practice, he led that site to the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s highest level of recognition as a Patient Centered Medical Home, providing patient-centered, team-based, comprehensive care. He has also helped lead Penn State Hershey’s successful efforts to develop and implement their fully functional electronic health record and to help harness the power of technology in providing high quality, longitudinal care and enhanced communication with patients. Dr. Oser also is active in diabetes research, examining the role of social media in peer-to-peer support.


Tamara Oser, MD, is Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and Residency Research Director for Penn State Hershey Family and Community Medicine. She is active in clinical practice, teaching both medical students and residents, and in medical education research. One of her major areas of focus is the patient doctor relationship. She has ranked in the ninety-ninth percentile nationwide for patient satisfaction and was recently named to the Best Doctors® in America. Dr. Oser is a Physician Scientist whose research focuses on supporting newly diagnosed T1D families, T1D peer-to-peer support through social media, exercise in Adults with T1D, and the unique experience of raising a child with both T1D and autism. She is wife to Sean Oser, MD, who has lived with type 1 diabetes for over 25 years, and is mom to twins Courtney and Jessica (age 16). Jessica was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age seven. She has seen firsthand that although there are challenges, diabetes is also her husband’s and daughter’s greatest strength. She blogs her family’s life with type 1 diabetes at


R. Stewart Perry grew up in Lexington, Kentucky. Since 1983 he has been the co-owner of Perry & Perry State Farm Insurance, one of the largest State Farm Insurance agencies in the state of Kentucky and is a Diabetes Consultant and Advocate. Stewart’s family has been dramatically affected by diabetes. His son has type 1 diabetes, both parents, and sister have all had diabetes during their lifetime. He has lost an uncle, grandfather and great grandmother to complications of diabetes. Stewart was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1990. Since that time, he has been actively involved in the American Diabetes Association. Stewart was the Chairman of the National Board of Directors and Chair of the National Advocacy Committee for five years, He was Chair Bluegrass Chapter for a number of years and helped organize many of the fundraising events still in existence. He served as the Kentucky Affiliate Board of Vice-Chair and was Chair-Elect when it became a part of the Southern Region where he served as the Chair of the Southern Region. He also is a former member of the National Board of Directors. He is the State of Kentucky State Advocacy Chair for ADA. Stewart is a member of the Kentucky Diabetes Network and a founding member of the Fayette County Diabetes Collation. Stewart was appointed by two different Governors of Kentucky to the GET FIT KY Board and The Diabetes Research Trust Fund Board where he currently still serves. Stewart is one of the founders of the National Diabetes Volunteer Leadership Council and currently serves as an officer of that organization. Where he has been instrumental in passing Diabetes Action Plan legislation in 18 states over the past four years. Stewart serves on the board of Children with Diabetes.


Matthew Point, MS, is a higher education professional in the greater Philadelphia area. Matt holds a Master's degree in Higher Education Administration & College Student Development. As part of his role on campus, he manages special accommodations for housing and dining plans for students with disabilities or dietary restrictions and is responsible for all on-campus emergency management. Matt began attending CWD events in 2013 to support his partner, who has type 1 diabetes. Matt's favorite parts of attending CWD events are getting to see all of the new technology, as well as reuniting with Type 1 and "Type 3" friends.


Stephen W. Ponder, MD, FAAP, CDE, has been a board-certified pediatric endocrinologist and certified diabetes educator since 1989-90. Dr. Ponder is also a Joslin 50-year medalist; having lived well with type 1 diabetes since March 1st 1966. He is the creator of Sugar Surfing™, a paradigm shifting approach to managing diabetes. His book Sugar Surfing ( is now in its sixth printing and has sold in over 30 countries. Ponder has been volunteering every year since 1981 as medical staff at the Texas Lions Camp for Children with Diabetes. He has also served as that residential camp’s medical director since 1989. He served on and chaired the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE) and chaired the organization in 1996. He has served on numerous local, state, and national committees advocating for child health and improved diabetes care. He has authored numerous research articles and received several diabetes research grants. He also serves as the Program Director for the Pediatric Residency Program at Scott and White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas. He is medical director for the Feed My Sheep Children’s Free Clinic which aims to serve homeless and uninsured children across central Texas. Dr. Ponder has spoken internationally on all areas of diabetes care for several decades. His professional focus is on empowering children, their families, and individuals with diabetes to assist them in achieving the best possible diabetes control and outcomes.


Camillo Ricordi, MD, is Director of the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami, and also the Stacy Joy Goodman Professor of Surgery, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Microbiology and Immunology. Acknowledged by his peers as one of the world's leading scientists in diabetes cure-focused research and cell transplantation, Dr. Ricordi is well-known for inventing the machine that makes it possible to isolate large numbers of islet cells (insulin-producing cells) from the human pancreas and for performing the first series of successful clinical islet transplants that reversed diabetes. The procedure is now used by laboratories performing clinical islet transplants worldwide, and in 2017 the first NIH-funded, FDA Phase 3 multicenter trial was successfully completed by the NIH Clinical Islet Transplantation Consortium, chaired by Dr. Ricordi for over a decade. He has also developed highly innovative strategies with the objective to transplant cells and organs without the continuous requirement for anti-rejection drugs and for the reversal of autoimmune conditions. While he is a recipient of numerous honors and awards for his significant contributions to the field and life-changing inventions, Dr. Ricordi is most committed to developing a cure for the millions of children and adults living with diabetes.


Liz Robinson, MS, PA-C, CDE, is a physician assistant practicing outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has specialized in high risk obstetrics and gynecology for over 15 years, with a strong focus on type 1 diabetes in pregnancy. Her interest in type 1 diabetes began when she met her husband, who was diagnosed as a teenager. Her passion was further fueled when her daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at four years old. Liz takes pride in using both her clinical skills and personal experience to help her patients achieve healthy, happy pregnancies.


Kenny Rodenheiser, BSN, RN, CDE, was diagnosed with diabetes in 2003. Through his involvement with CWD, ADA, JDRF and other local organizations, he realized his passion is to help people with diabetes learn about their disease and how to cope with it. He earned his Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Ramapo College of New Jersey. Kenny earned his Certified Diabetes Educator in 2015 and currently works as a diabetes educator for Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.


Henry Rodriguez, MD, is a highly regarded pediatric diabetologist and collaborative type 1 diabetes clinical researcher who led the Indiana University (IU) DPT-1 Regional Recruitment Center and served as the highly successful IU TrialNet Clinical Center's Clinical Director for 10 years. He joined the University of South Florida College of Medicine in 2010 as a Professor of Pediatrics and Clinical Director of the USF Diabetes Center. He has led expansion of clinical, educational, and clinical research activities at USF including the launch of the USF T1D Exchange Clinical Center, establishment of the USF TrialNet Clinical Center, and partnering with industry in investigating novel therapies in type 1 and pediatric type 2 diabetes. Dr. Rodriguez is the Protocol Chair for the NIH-funded TrialNet Pathway to Prevention Study and serves on numerous TrialNet committees. He is co-chair of the ADA Safe at School Working Group, co-chair of the Diabetes Advocacy Alliance and has been a longstanding volunteer with JDRF and a staunch supporter of diabetes camps. He has also been the member of working groups addressing insulin pump therapy in children and the transition of young adults from pediatric to adult diabetes care providers. His clinical and research foci are the improvement of lives impacted by diabetes while pursing prevention and a cure.


Christina Roth is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the College Diabetes Network. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 14, Christina became an active patient advocate while in college where she started CDN as a campus group in 2009. Due to the overwhelming response to the initial group, Christina expanded CDN into a national non-profit organization serving young adults with diabetes. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Christina worked at the Joslin Diabetes Center and consulted for the T1D Exchange. Christina served as President of CDN until 2013, when she was appointed CEO of the organization. As CEO, Christina frequently speaks on topics such as CDN’s programs; research on the young adult population and how to meet their unique needs; non-profit management; women in business; innovation; and start-up organizations.


Chris Ruden is probably the only 7-fingered, type 1, record-holding powerlifter, speaker, and fitness consultant. Born with a disability, he struggled with limitations -- body image issues, bullying, and just being "different" than everyone else. When he faced extremely rough times, Chris learned that "limitations are self imposed," which empowered him to beat his disability, manage his diabetes, and inspire kids and adults around the world while teaching them how everyone is in control of their life. Chris has a degree is in Exercise Science & Health Promotion and, in addition to speaking, runs an online fitness and nutrition consulting business, focusing on helping those with type 1 diabetes.


Desmond Schatz, MD, is Professor and Associate Chairman of Pediatrics, Medical Director of the Diabetes Center and Director of the GCRC at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He has been involved in Type 1 diabetes research since the mid 80s and has published over 200 manuscripts, the majority related to the prediction, natural history, genetics, immunopathogenesis and prevention of the disease, as well as the management of children and adolescents with Type 1 diabetes. He is the Principal Investigator (PI) on several JDRF and NIH awards. He is PI on JDRF funded studies aimed at reversing Type 1 diabetes using autologous stem cells (cord blood) and is currently PI the of the University of Florida Clinical Center participating in the NIH-funded TrialNet. He serves as co-PI on a Program Project Grant looking at the immunopathogenesis of Type 1 diabetes, and also serves as co-PI for the NIH-funded international newborn genetic screening (TEDDY) program in North Central Florida. Dr.Schatz has served in numerous capacities for the American Diabetes Association and on study sections and site visits for the JDRF and NIH. He also serves on the external advisory board for the NIH- and CDC-funded SEARCH study and the TODAY study in youth with type 2 diabetes and on the JDRF-funded Australian INIT II studies. He was awarded the Mary Tyler Moore and S Robert Levine JDRF Excellence in Clinical Research Award together with his colleagues, Mark Atkinson and Mike Haller as well as the 2009 Cure Award from the American Diabetes Association.


Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE, is owner and Clinical Director of Integrated Diabetes Services, a practice located just outside of Philadelphia specializing in intensive insulin therapy and advanced education for children and adults. He and his staff provide consultations throughout the world via phone and the internet. Gary is a Masters-level exercise physiologist. He has been a Certified Diabetes Educator for 19 years, and served as the 2014 Diabetes Educator of the Year. He has had type 1 diabetes for 30 years and makes personal use of insulin pump therapy and CGM. Gary has written dozens of articles for diabetes trade publications and six books, including the popular Think Like A Pancreas - A Practical Guide to Managing Diabetes With Insulin. He lectures nationally and internationally for people with diabetes as well as professionals in the healthcare industry. In addition to serving on the faculty of Children With Diabetes and the Board of Directors for JDRF, Gary volunteers for the American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Sisters, and Setebaid Diabetes Camps. Gary has been happily married for 25 years and has four wonderful kids. A fitness fanatic, he enjoys playing basketball, running, cycling and cheering on his Philadelphia sports teams.


After Elle Shaheen was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, she made a promise that if there was any way to pursue performing arts with type one that she would make the world a better place by channeling her talents and passion for a higher purpose. Over the 10 years since her diagnosis, she continues to make good on this promise. Elle was one of the first kids to test the bionic pancreas and worked with CNN to share her experience with the world. As the Co-Chair of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Children's Congress, she helped introduce fellow-advocate, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She campaigned for the restoration of stem cell research and was the only young person at The White House when President Obama signed an Executive Order to end the ban. A freshman at Harvard College, Elle is proud to be sharing the Kennedy Center for the Arts 2017 Very Special Arts Playwright Discovery award-winning play that she wrote and published titled, Dimples and Diabetes. This one act play is about the experience of living with type 1 diabetes and managing transitions.


Stacey Simms is the host of the award-winning podcast Diabetes Connections and was named one of Diabetes Forecast Magazine's "People to Know: 2017." Stacey's son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2006, one month before he turned two, and Stacey started blogging about her family's experience with T1D a few week later. For more than a decade, she hosted Charlotte’s Morning News on WBT-AM, the city’s top-rated morning radio news show. Stacey's been named to the Charlotte Business Journal’s Forty under 40 and as one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Mecklenburg County by the Mecklenburg Times.


Laura Smith, PhD, CDE, is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, a licensed psychologist, and certified diabetes educator at the University of South Florida Diabetes Center. Dr. Smith provides clinical care and conducts research in the area of pediatric and adult type 1 diabetes. Her research focuses on how healthcare providers and individuals with diabetes can collaborate and share in health decision-making, how family interactions impact diabetes management, and the psychological impact of being genetically at-risk for type 1 diabetes. Dr. Smith has published research articles in these areas and speaks on these topics to various groups of healthcare providers, researchers, and patients. She also provides clinical services to individuals living with type 1 diabetes and their families. Dr. Smith's work is guided by her own experience; she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 17 years ago and believes that having diabetes can be challenging but is manageable with education, a positive outlook, and a good support network.


Kerri Sparling has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1986, diagnosed at the age of seven. She manages her diabetes and lives her life by the mantra “Diabetes doesn’t define me, but it helps explain me.” Kerri is an internationally recognized diabetes advocate. She is the creator and author of Six Until Me, established in 2005 and remains one of the most widely-read diabetes patient blogs, reaching a global audience of patients, caregivers, and industry. She has been featured on NPR, US News and World Report, CBNC, Yahoo! Health, LA Times, The Lancet, Whole Living, Disney’s, and Family Circle, among other national outlets. In addition to her writing, Kerri is a highly-rated speaker and has presented the patient perspective to audiences around the world. She works to raise awareness for diabetes, patient advocacy, and the influence of social media on health outcomes. Her first book, Balancing Diabetes (Spry Publishing), looks at type 1 diabetes in the context of “real life.” Kerri and her husband live in Rhode Island, USA with their two children.


Ben Stroud, age 29, has been living with diabetes for 19 years, and has been pumping for over 11 years. Born in the northeast, and raised in the southeast and SoCal has given him an appreciation for the country and a hunger for travel. A graduate of the LA Film school, Ben has been working in the industry, making television commercials, short films, and working on television programs. Ben has been attending Friends for Life Orlando since 2002 and a volunteer for over seven years. Ben currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.


Marissa Town, BSN, RN, CDE, graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and later earned her Certified Diabetes Educator credential. She has had type 1 diabetes since the age of two and has grown up with a passion for helping families living with diabetes. Marissa is currently working as a research nurse at Stanford University. She has always enjoyed working with families with diabetes at Children with Diabetes conferences, camps, and support groups. She and her husband Adam have two young children, Connor and Everly.


Rachel M. Wasserman, PhD, is a Pediatric Psychologist and Assistant Research Scientist at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida, and Assistant Professor of Psychology at University of Central Florida College of Medicine. She specializes in helping families of children with chronic illnesses, especially diabetes, cope with the stress of living with a chronic medical condition. She particularly enjoys working with the teenage and young adult population. Her research focuses on helping teenagers and young adults make safer choices around their diabetes care and improving healthcare delivery for youth with diabetes.


Susan Weiner, MS, RDN, CDE, CDN, is the owner of Susan Weiner Nutrition, PLLC and was named the 2015 AADE Diabetes Educator of the Year. Susan is the “Diabetes in Real Life” columnist for Endocrine Today. She is the co-author of The Complete Diabetes Organizer: Your Guide to a Less Stressful and More Manageable Diabetes Life and Diabetes: 365 Tips for Living Well. Susan served as the 2015-2016 editor for On the Cutting Edge, a peer reviewed publication for the Diabetes Care and Education group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Susan is the 2017 co-chair of the Advanced Practice Communities of Interest of the American Association of Diabetes Educators. She has been appointed to the medical advisory boards for, Diabetic Lifestyle, Endocrine Web and Diabetes Daily. Susan earned her Master's Degree in Applied Physiology and Nutrition from Columbia University. She also earned a certificate of training in "Adult Weight Management" through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


Jill Weissberg-Benchell, PhD, CDE, Pediatric Psychologist, Professor of Psychiatry, Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois. She has been a certified diabetes educator for over 20 years and is an author of numerous research articles, and a co-author of a book on transitioning from pediatric to adult care. Dr. Weissberg-Benchell works with children, teenagers and their families to facilitate adaptation and coping with diabetes and other chronic conditions.


Jamie R. Wood, MD, is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She is the Medical Director of the Diabetes Program and the Mary Blossom Lee Chair in Pediatric Diabetes at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. She is a pediatric endocrinologist that specializes in the clinical care of youth with type 1 diabetes. Dr. Wood is involved in many clinical research projects that focus on clinical outcomes, emerging therapies, and transition to college and adult endocrinology. One of her favorite places to be is diabetes camp. At Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital she directs support groups, family retreats, College Prep Events, and diabetes education classes. Dr. Wood loves working with and caring for youth and families that live with type 1 diabetes -- her goal is to work as part of the team that manages diabetes so that the child, adolescent, or young adult can do anything they set their mind to.


Crystal Crismond Woodward is the Director of the American Diabetes Association (ADA)'s Safe at School initiative based at its Home Office in Alexandria, Virginia. Crystal is considered a national authority on the rights of students with diabetes and has spoken at conferences and forums throughout the United States and internationally on how to effectively advocate on behalf of students with diabetes, training hundreds of parent advocates, attorneys, and health care professionals. A parent of a child with diabetes, Crystal began her advocacy as a volunteer for ADA when she successfully led the effort to pass the first state diabetes school legislation in the country providing comprehensive coverage for students with diabetes in Virginia and has since worked tirelessly to pass Safe at School legislation in 30 states including the District of Columbia. Crystal is a contributor to many diabetes publications, is a member of the Virginia Diabetes Council and serves on a number of other diabetes and youth advisory boards and committees.

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