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The Conference Faculty

Photo Natalie Bellini, R.N., C.D.E., has had diabetes since she was a young child and within a year of finishing nursing school started to care for people with diabetes, first focusing on high risk pregnancy and then pediatrics and insulin-requiring adults. She has lectured extensively to clinicians, patients and their families about diabetes, the psychological effect of the disease and how to keep going on the hardest of days. Natalie has worked with children and adults of all ages and has assisted in initiating and expanding pump programs at numerous hospitals and private practices. She is currently a Territory Manager with Animas Corporation. Natalie believes in truth in education and that knowledge is power. She enjoys working with children and teens, and has a second full-time job as mom of her own teen, Erin.

Photo Marc H. Blatstein has had type 1 diabetes since age 10 and he is now 53 years young. Marc has spent the last 16 years traveling the U.S. and Israel teaching the Can Do attitude of winning with diabetes. He is the past president of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in Philadelphia, and serves on the State of Pennsylvania Diabetes Control Panel. Marc has been a follower of progressive diabetes and other therapies as long as he can remember. He has worn an insulin pump for the past 9 years and has followed alternative medicine since the mid 1980's. Marc is president of a 25 year old Alternative Medicine non profit foundation. His hobby is TaeKwon Do, and he recently achieved his Black Belt. Marc not only speaks about "Winning and the Can Do's of Diabetes," he lives it!

Photo Betty Brackenridge, M.S., R.D., C.D.E., has worked for decades providing patient and professional education in Phoenix, Arizona. The author of Diabetes 101 and Sweet Kids, books for people living with diabetes, and of numerous professional publications, Ms. Brackenridge is a powerful and entertaining speaker on both the human and medical aspects of living with and caring for diabetes.

Photo Bruce Buckingham, M.D., received his medical degree from the University of California at San Diego, and did his pediatric and endocrine fellowship at the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. On become an attending at CHLA, he had the pleasure of working with Dr. Fran Kaufman as she started her endocrine fellowship. He subsequently moved to the Children's Hospital of Orange County where he remained for 18 years. While at Orange County he had the opportunity to work with an incredible parent organization, the PADRE foundation. For the last 6 years he as been working at the Stanford Medical Center. He has a long standing interest in glucose sensors, and while at Stanford has conducted a number of studies using the GlucoWatch and Minimed CGMS. He is currently the Principal Investigator at Stanford for the mulitcenter NIH trial (DirecNet) to assess the use of glucose sensors in Children.

Photo Bob Bulgarelli, M.D., is a cardiologist who specializes in Preventative and Integrative Cardiovascular Medicine. Bob has spent the last several years working with Dean Ornish, MD and Andy Weil, MD in developing a more holistic approach to cardiac care as well as running stress management workshops. He is the director of The Smart Heart Program for Main Line Health System. Smart Hearts is a comprehensive lifestyle program geared toward risk reduction for heart patients, including diet, exercise, stress management, group support and spirituality. His program is expanding to help patients with obesity and diabetes as well. Programs like his have been recently shown to be effective in delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. Bob has a particular interest in bringing his message of healthy lifestyle change to children and adolescents and will be working closely with the Pennsylvania State School Board this fall to do just that!

Photo Paul Chous, M.A., O.D., is the author of Diabetic Eye Disease: Lessons From a Diabetic Eye Doctor. He has practiced optometry for 12 years in Renton, Kent, Auburn and Tacoma, Washington with special emphasis on diabetic eye disease and diabetes education. Dr. Chous serves as a consultant to the American Diabetes Association, which honored him with its distinguished Public Service Award in 1998. He lives in Maple Valley, WA with his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Chous, his son, Atticus and three cats. Dr. Chous has had type 1 diabetes since 1968.

Photo Linda Cooper, M.S., R.D., C.D.E., is a registered dietician and certified diabetes educator who resides in southern California. She has more than 15 years of experience in the field of pediatric nutrition as well as diabetes education. She works with patients and families affected by both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In addition to her expertise in medical nutrition therapy, Linda specializes in insulin pump therapy. She has developed and delivered a multitude of community education and healthcare practitioner programs. Linda is currently the Senior Manager of Clinical Services for Animas Corporation.

Photo Craig Crease was diagnosed with diabetes in 1969 at the age of 7. Craig is the father of 6 year old Emily who was diagnosed at 20 months and Claire who is 11 months (high risk markers but no antibodies yet!). He enjoys talking to individuals with diabetes but especially enjoys talking with parents regarding their children's diabetes. Craig believes that "Diabetes does not have to stop you achieving the things you want in life. Sure, there is a lot of extra work that goes into living with diabetes, but there is nothing you cannot do." Craig has attended all of the CWD annual conferences and is excited to be a part of Friends For Life in LA. Craig is currently employed by Deltec as a Regional Sales Manager promoting the Cozmo insulin pump.

Photo Jeff Hitchcock is the creator, editor, and webmaster of Children with Diabetes. After earning a degree in computational mathematics in 1981, Jeff traveled the world with the US Government, meeting Brenda, who would become his wife, in Africa. After leaving government service in 1988, he worked in the defense industry until 1995, when he started a small Internet company and launched Children with Diabetes. He subsequently worked at LEXIS-NEXIS and Pearson plc on Internet initiatives, and now works full time bringing Children with Diabetes to you.

Photo Luca Inverardi, M.D., is Director of Immunobiology of Islet Transplantation and Co-Director of the Cell Transplant Center at the Diabetes Research Institute, and a Research Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Miami School of Medicine. He heads the basic science division of the DRI, where research focuses on a broad range of experiments in the areas of transplant immunology, molecular biology, gene therapy, pathology and immunogenetics. Much of Dr. Inverardi's research interests lie in developing ways to transplant islets without the need for anti-rejection drugs. He has conducted numerous studies using bone marrow transplantation and other methods to help recipients achieve tolerance to transplanted tissue. Dr. Inverardi has also been an active participant in several academic partnerships and has ongoing teaching responsibilities at the University of Miami.

Photo Crystal C. Jackson is Manager of Legal Advocacy of the American Diabetes Association's National Office in Alexandria, Virginia. Crystal, a former litigation paralegal with the Philadelphia law firm of Fox, Rothschild, O'Brien & Frankel, is one of the Association's most valuable resources on civil rights and anti-discrimination laws as they apply to individuals with diabetes. She advocates for individuals who face discrimination by their school or employer because of their diabetes. Crystal is also the parent of a child with diabetes and was instrumental in the passage of school diabetes care legislation in Virginia and a procurer of an agreement between the Office of Civil Rights (U.S. Department of Education) and her daughter's school district that resulted in improved standards for the care of students with diabetes by public school systems. Crystal is a co-author of the recently released National Diabetes Education Program's school guide entitled Helping the Student with Diabetes Succeed: A Guide for School Personnel, has contributed to a number of diabetes publications, and is a member the Virginia Diabetes Council. She also has held several PTA and PTO officer positions and is a past Health Chair for Hunt District Virginia PTA. She resides in Leesburg, VA with her family and has 2 children in Loudoun County Public Schools.

Photo Lois Jovanovic, M.D. is Director and Chief Scientific Officer at the Sansum Medical Research Institute, Santa Barbara, California. Currently she leads research in the field of diabetes and pregnancy, and Islet Cell Transplantation for the treatment of diabetes. Her work in the field of diabetes and pregnancy has become the mainstay of therapy for all diabetic pregnant women. Because of her research, diabetic women now have the same chances as a non-diabetic woman to have a healthy infant. Her contributions to the literature in the field of diabetes include 126 primary articles, 203 reviews and 20 books. She is engaged in a vigorous attempt to utilize islet cell transplantation to improve the lives of persons with diabetes.

Photo Zippora Karz is a former soloist ballerina with the New York City Ballet where she performed for 16 years on stage and in televised performances. She was featured in a variety of roles choreographed by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins (The Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker being one of her favorites) as well as works choreographed specifically for her by such choreographers as Peter Martins and Lynne Taylor Corbett. Today Miss Karz stages Balanchine ballets all over the world coaching and teaching dance. She still performs, mostly for diabetes related events, as well as speaking and working with kids and young adults. Miss Karz has type 1 diabetes.

Photo Kim Kelly, Pharm. D., is the Director of Diabetes Programs at LifeScan, Inc., in Milpitas, California. Dr. Kelly has a lengthy and distinguished career involving both patient care and administrative roles, including President of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. 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 has participated as a volunteer in the Orlando Friends for Life conference and the Focus on Fitness and Nutrition conference in Baltimore. He joined CWD as 'regular faculty' for the San Antonio Focus on Fitness and Nutrition conference, and extends his tenure as faculty to this summer's conference.

Photo Rick Philbin, M.Ed., A.T.C., C.S.C.S., is a regional manager for Animas Corporation, an athletic trainer, and an individual with type 1 diabetes. Prior to joining Animas, he managed a comprehensive sports medicine center in Silver Spring, Maryland. Rick is a presenter for Fitness in Today's Times On-site Corporate Wellness Program and is very active in diabetes as it relates to exercise. He has spearheaded an effort to bring a chapter of the Diabetes, Exercise, and Sports Association (DESA) to the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area and lectures frequently on exercise through DESA. He is currently the chapter president and a national board member. Rick's professional experience also includes working as an Athletic Trainer for a Philadelphia-based sports medicine center, where he worked with professional athletes from the Philadelphia 76ers and Flyers. He believes education is paramount for good diabetes management. As an avid exercise enthusiast with type 1 diabetes, Rick practices tight management of his diabetes while on an insulin pump.

Photo Rhall Pope, Ph.D., is the Vice President of Research and Development at Smiths Medical MD, Inc. (Deltec), a manufacturer of drug delivery devices in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is responsible for the design and development of all new products at Smiths Medical MD, Inc. including the CoZmo Insulin Pump and CoZmonitor Blood Glucose Meter. Prior to joining Smiths Medical, Rhall worked in Aerospace and was involved in the design of the Space Shuttle, the Global Positioning System (GPS), the B-2 Stealth Bomber, and other advanced aircraft. Rhall has served as an officer in the US Air Force at the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory, served on the FDA's Science Review Board and is a member of the University of Minnesota Biomedical Engineering Institute Industry Advisory Board.

Photo Michelle Rago is an attorney and CWD mom. She graduated from Harvard University in 1986, magna cum laude, with a B.S. in Sociology. There she received the First Annual Ben Teel Memorial Prize for Public Service. She graduated from Columbia University School of Law in 1990, receiving a Charles Evans Hughes Fellowship. Michelle has practiced complex commercial litigation since graduation, specializing in securities and other class actions on behalf of investors. In 2000, Michelle's son Trent was diagnosed with diabetes at age 4. Due to the diagnosis, Trent's daycare would not accept him back. Since then, Michelle has worked hard to keep abreast of the changing laws with relation to diabetes and school, insurance coverage, and discrimination on account of diabetes. She is a member of the parents list on the CWD website and often assists parents with legal issues that arise in connection with diabetes.

Photo Melissa Ringley, R.N., C.D.E., Manager of Clinical Services at Animas Corporation, is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Nursing-Wise Virginia, and has been involved in diabetes education for over 12 years. When her daughter was diagnosed with diabetes 12 years ago, Melissa dedicated herself to learning about diabetes and giving back that learning to patients and the medical community alike. Melissa has presented to numerous groups of patients with diabetes as well as health care practitioners, and has worked with hundreds of insulin pump patients with all types of diabetes and from all walks of life. Melissa is known for her caring attitude and genuine concern for all her patients, and for her active involvement in the diabetes community.

Photo Richard Rubin, Ph.D., C.D.E., Psychologist, and Associate Professor in Medicine and Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Author of Psyching Out Diabetes and Sweet Kids, Optimal Pumping, and 101 Tips for Coping with Diabetes. Dr. Rubin is Stefan Rubin's father. Stefan is also on the conference faculty and is a coauthor of Optimal Pumping and 101 Tips for Coping with Diabetes. Dr. Rubin is a sought after speaker for both professionals and people living with diabetes. He speaks with authority and warmth on the human side of diabetes.

Photo Stefan Rubin was diagnosed type 1 in 1979, at the age of seven and began insulin pump therapy three years later. He considers his experience an invaluable exercise and education that continue to prepare him for any hurdles that diabetes-and-life place in his path. Long a source of inspiration for his father, Dr. Richard R. Rubin, Stefan is co-author of two books, including 101 Tips for Coping with Diabetes, published in 2003 by the American Diabetes Association. Stefan also speaks locally and nationally in an ongoing attempt to share his outlook on living well with diabetes. Stefan and his wife Christine, live, work and play with their son Brooks and daughter Maisie in Baltimore, Maryland.

Photo Mike Schurig, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.D.E., is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator who has had type 1 diabetes since age 12. He currently is employed at Florida Hospital Celebration Health as a certified diabetes educator in Celebration, FL (the Disney created suburb located close to Walt Disney World). Mike has had experience in diabetes education with kids and adults, and has been involved in CWD conferences since the first formal conference in 2001. Mike is active with local ADA activities, regional diabetes educator groups, and the CWD website. His interests are insulin pump education and technical advances in diabetes. Mike enjoys visiting the nearby theme parks and enjoying Central Florida with his wife Gayle and his 12 year old daughter Allyson.

Photo John Walsh, P.A., C.D.E., is a Physician Assistant and Diabetes Clinical Specialist who has provided clinical care to thousands of people with diabetes. John is well-known for his best-selling books on type 1 diabetes, Pumping Insulin: Everything You Need For Success With An Insulin Pump (3rd Edition) and Stop The Rollercoaster. An insulin pump wearer for 18 years, John has started and followed many hundreds of people on pumps. He is a popular presenter on a wide variety of diabetes topics and has been a frequent guest on radio and TV programs. His interests include identifying and providing clinical care for patients at risk of developing diabetes complications, stabilizing and reversing those complications, and enhancing blood sugar control through innovative methods.

The Teen Faculty

Photo Photo Carolyn and Sam Billetdeaux are a brother-sister duo with a single purpose: to beat diabetes. Sam, diagnosed nearly six years ago at age 8, is determined that diabetes will never get in the way of his life dreams. Carolyn, age 16, does not have diabetes; she presents type 1 diabetes as a family disease. It affects everyone. For the past three years, Sam and Carolyn have been speaking out on the importance of teen advocacy and taking control of your life. They are founding members of CWD's International Diabetes Youth Ambassador program (IDYA) and traveled to Denmark in 2002 to meet with Danish teens as part of a diabetes advocacy exchange. Carolyn founded and serves as Director of the Supplies for Children with Diabetes Foundation. Both Carolyn and Sam also work privately to send donated supplies to children in Cali, Colombia. Sam spends any and all spare time at the hockey rink!

Photo Lianna Stroster is a 13 year old CWD International Diabetes Youth Ambassador. She has type 1 diabetes and doesn't let anything stop her from achieving her goals. Lianna has been playing basketball for 6 years. During the summer of 2002, she participated in the Switzerland Invitational basketball tournament. She has attended both the 2002 Focus on Technology and the 2003Friends For Life conferences, and participated as faculty for the San Antonio Focus on Fitness and Nutrition conference. Being diabetic for two years and on an insulin pump for one, she has managed to fit diabetes into her busy, active lifestyle.

The Parent Discussion Facilitators

Photo Neal Billetdeaux, from Michigan, is learning to be a diabetes advocate from kids Carolyn and Sam. His most frequent complaint to wife, Laura, is that he doesn't have enough vacation time to make it to all the CWD conferences! When not downloading meter data, changing infusion sets, or cooking dinner, Neal is a principal in a landscape architecture firm in Ann Arbor. His CWD 'claim to fame' is that - in a sleep-deprived stupor one night - he awoke to his alarm at 2 a.m. and tried to test the dog. He's a great dad with a great sense of humor!

Photo Kim Kaar is the mother of three children including Alexander, five years old. Since Alex's diagnosis at eighteen months old, Kim has devoted herself to raising awareness of type 1 diabetes and raising funds for a cure. A self-proclaimed "domestic engineer," Kim finds that her education and experience as a Business Manager has been helpful in juggling the many demands of daily life with diabetes. "Multi-tasking becomes matter of fact." She also believes that knowledge is power. "There is no better place to increase your knowledge of diabetes than the CWD website and conferences. I doubt that our family would be doing as well, and functioning to such an extent within the diabetes community, if not for the information, support, and hope provided by CWD." Kim would like to see every newly diagnosed family provided with access to CWD, and she blankets diabetes clinics in her area with CWD pamphlets. "No family should have to feel alone in the battle with diabetes".

Photo Tom Karlya is the National Development Director for the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation and has been active in fund raising for diabetes causes since his daughter, Kaitlyn, was diagnosed in 1992. He is an actor/writer by trade. For 12 years, he starred in the New York City Production of Tony 'N Tina's Wedding and also at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C., in Summer of the 17th Doll. Tom has also appeared in Unsolved Mysteries, Spin City, The Cosby Show, NYPD Blue, Law and Order, America's Most Wanted, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood and others. He is a featured guest on WLIE 540 AM Talk Radio on Long Island and lives on Long Island with his wife, Jill and children TJ, Kaitlyn, and Bobby.

Photo Lauren Lanning is a self-proclaimed Jersey Girl transplanted to Colorado. She has been involved in the CWD diabetes conferences since the very first gathering in Orlando in 2000, where she volunteered to make name badges. Little did she know. Making name badges evolved within an hour into leading a huge group of CWD volunteers who assist with every aspect of helping all the CWD conferences run smoothly. Lauren has two adorable daughters, Monica and Sarah, who are the inspiration in her life. A computer geek at heart, Lauren teaches computer skills at the elementary level and also has her own web design business. For fun, she is a crossing guard. For more fun, the last two years she has ridden century rides in Death Valley to raise money for diabetes research.

Photo Lee Shekter was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and was raised next door in the small, Victorian-era town of Dundas. He attended York University in Toronto where he earned degrees in Biology. Lee then worked for a few years at a start-up biotech company in Toronto isolating genes thought to be involved with Alzheimer's and stroke before deciding that earning a good living and having a stable career were unworthy goals. He returned to the much more desirable world of long hours, starvation wages and bad clothing to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. There he met Alicia, they were married, moved into a home together and had our two wonderful boys (well, maybe not in that exact order), Jacob (dx 2000, aged 2 years - now 6 years old) and Dylan, 4 years old. In the winter of 1999, unable to endure the excruciating play of the once storied Chicago Bulls but sorry to say good bye to Lake Shore Drive, the North Side, and Ravinia, Lee and Alicia moved to the beautiful city of Providence, Rhode Island so that Alicia could teach and do research at Brown University. Lee worked for almost three years at Abbott Labs in Worcester, Massachusetts in computational drug discovery and now works at a local start-up biotech company called EpiVax.

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