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Conference Faculty

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Natalie Bellini, BSN, RN, CDE, has had type 1 diabetes since she was a young child. Within a year of finishing nursing school, she started to care for people with diabetes, focusing first on diabetes in pregnancy then pediatrics and insulin requiring adults. She has worked on the medical side of camps for children and teens in Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania. She has spoken nationally and internationally as an expert in both working with teens and their parents with diabetes as well as infusion set choice, usage and maintenance. Her fundamental goal when developing the teenage curriculum for Children with Diabetes conferences is that each and every teen that attends finds a passion in life and pursues it. She is currently attending Drexel University part time in order to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. Natalie is a senior territory manager with Animas Corporation and mom to Erin.

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Edward Damiano, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University. His educational training is in the areas of biomedical and mechanical engineering and applied mathematics. His lab is engaged in basic scientific research that uses fluid dynamics, solid mechanics, and intravital microscopy to study blood flow in the microcirculation and to elucidate mechanisms by which the lining of blood vessels can determine vascular health and disease. In one study, his lab is investigating the effect of hyperglycemia in diabetic mice with the goal of finding ways to counteract the damage to blood vessels that leads to so many of the well-known complications of diabetes. In addition to this research, he is also committed to creating and integrating technologies to build a bionic endocrine pancreas. His interest in a bionic pancreas is quite personal, and began when his twelve-year-old son, David, developed type 1 diabetes before the age of one. His goal is to have the control system that he developed with one of his postdoctoral fellows, Dr. Firas El-Khatib, hard at work closing the loop for his son and others with diabetes before David goes off to college.

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Crystal Crismond Jackson is Associate Director of Legal Advocacy at the American Diabetes Association (ADA)'s Home Office in Alexandria, Virginia. Her primary responsibility is managing the Association's Safe at School Campaign. 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 which provides comprehensive coverage for students with diabetes in Virginia. Simultaneously she pursued a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Education resulting in a settlement that is a nationwide model for safe and effective school diabetes care. Crystal is a former litigation paralegal and a contributor to many diabetes publications including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Diabetes Education Program's school guide entitled "Helping the Student with Diabetes Succeed: A Guide for School Personnel" and the ADA's treatise on school issues: "Legal Rights of Students with Diabetes." Crystal is a member of the Virginia Diabetes Council, serves on a number of other diabetes and youth advisory boards and committees.

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Scott K. Johnson was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in April of 1980. He has been writing about his struggles and successes with diabetes since late 2004. Currently blogging at Scott's Diabetes (scottsdiabetes.com), and contributing to many diabetes related projects, Scott stays busy connecting with others living with diabetes. Scott works full time as a freelance writer and diabetes consultant, and says, "I'm your average guy living with type 1 diabetes. I don't have it all figured out, and sharing my struggles with diabetes helps by showing people that it is okay to still be trying to get it right, even after 32+ years." Scott lives with his family near the Minneapolis, MN area.

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Tom Karlya, Vice President of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, is commonly known throughout the diabetes community as Diabetes Dad, used virtually everywhere, including his monthly column which appears at www.dLife.com/diabetesdad. He's been active since his daughter, Kaitlyn, was diagnosed in 1992 at the age of two. 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., appeared at diabetes-related events at the United Nations and has lectured across the US about being a Diabetes Dad. He received numerous commendations for his work in the Katrina efforts where he was instrumental in organizing aid to over 10,000 people with diabetes. 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, with the original Company and also at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C., in Summer of the 17th Doll. His film, lbs., was at the Sundance Film Festival, and appeared in Unsolved Mysteries, Spin City, The Cosby Show, NYPD Blue, Law and Order, America's Most Wanted, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, and more as well as numerous commercials. He won 13 Telly Awards, a FREDDIE Award, and was nominated for an Emmy Award while Executive Producer of dLife on CNBC. Tom will tell you that above everything else, he's just a CWD Dad.

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Kenneth P. Moritsugu, MD, MPH, FACPM joined the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies in October 2007. Serving as Chairman of the Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute, he will develop innovative programs and strategies that will help Johnson & Johnson companies and the health care community better address the delivery of diabetes care around the world. Born in Hawaii, Dr. Moritsugu achieved Admiralty status within the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service, was the Federal representative to numerous national health care agencies and consulted with several international organizations and governments. Before serving as Acting Surgeon General in 2006, Dr. Moritsugu was the Deputy Surgeon General and the principal assistant and advisor to the U.S. Surgeon General for nearly ten years. Having completed residencies in internal medicine and in preventive medicine, Dr. Moritsugu is Board Certified in preventive medicine and holds Fellowships in the American College of Preventive Medicine, the Royal Society of Health, and the Royal Society of Medicine. Dr. Moritsugu has Type 1 diabetes and appreciates the many challenges facing patients -- and diabetes professionals -- today.


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Rick Philbin, MED, MBA, ATC, is Vice President of Sales for Asante Solutions. Prior to his leadership role at Asante, Rick worked for 12 years at Animas Corporation (2000 thru 2011) as a Territory Manager, Regional Manager, and East Area Field Director. His background is in Athletic Training/Sports Management and he is an individual with Type 1 diabetes. Prior to joining Animas, he managed a comprehensive sports medicine center in the Washington, DC area. He is currently on the board of directors of the Diabetes, Exercise, and Sports Association (DESA), a non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for people with diabetes through exercise and physical fitness. Rick has been working with CWD for 11 years presenting to parents, coordinating the sports programming for kids, and writing articles on the CWD website called the Sports Corner. 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, he practices tight management of his diabetes while on an insulin pump. Rick lives in the Washington, DC area with his wife Sharon and daughters Nicole and Andrea.

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Harold Sanco, CPT, is a former National Aerobic Champion and two time bronze medalist at the National Step Challenge Competition. He has been voted Washington, DC’s “Best Instructor” by Washingtonian Magazine and the Washington Post. With more than 20 years of experience in youth physical education and coaching, he is an internationally acclaimed instructor and trainer who teaches across the United States, Canada and 15 countries for some of the top fitness conferences in the world. His popular “Urban Funk” class has been featured in People, Allure and W magazines. He is AFAA certified and a Master Trainer for Lebert Training Systems. Currently he serves as the Director of Group Fitness for the award-winning Results Gym in Washington, DC and the Director of Fitness for two National Youth groups “Children with Diabetes” and “Workout4Kids.”

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Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2002, Sebastien Sasseville became the first Canadian with diabetes to reach the summit of Mount Everest on May 25th 2008. He then turned to a new challenge and went on to complete four Ironman races. In November 2012, Sasseville competed in another of the world’s most grueling events: the Sahara Race, a 250 km self-supported ultra-marathon across the infamous desert in Egypt. In 2005, Sasseville took with him a group of nine teens with diabetes to the summit of the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro. The ambitious project turned into a world premiere and inspired hundreds of thousands of people. In the summer of 2007, he then lead a group of young adults also living with type 1 diabetes on a 2 weeks long trek to Mount Everest Base Camp. Only 34 years old, he has already impacted the life of hundreds of thousands of people via his conferences, expeditions and TV appearances. While captivating listeners with thrilling stories, he uncovers hidden dimensions of diabetes and offers a journey that will take you back to the very first step of its treatment, and arguably the only cure, the acceptance.

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Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE, is a Certified Diabetes Educator and Exercise Physiologist who has had type 1 diabetes for more than 25 years. He owns and operates Integrated Diabetes Services, a private practice located just outside of Philadelphia specializing in intensive insulin therapy for children and adults with type 1 diabetes. He and his staff of diabetes educators provide consultations throughout the world via phone and internet. Gary earned a BA from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Master of Science from Benedictine University. He received his diabetes training with the Joslin Diabetes Center. In addition to serving on the Children With Diabetes faculty, Gary is an active volunteer for the ADA, JDRF and Setebaid Diabetes Camps. Gary has written five books (including "Think Like A Pancreas") and dozens of articles on various topics in intensive diabetes management. He has received several awards for his teaching tools and techniques, and speaks regularly at regional, national and international conferences. A husband, father of five and avid sports fan, Gary has been a pump user since 1994, and a CGM user since 2006.

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Kerri Sparling was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in September of 1986 and lives by the mantra "Diabetes doesn't define me, but it helps explain me." Creator and editor of the diabetes blog, SixUntilMe.com, she has contributed to many diabetes-related websites and publications, and is a passionate advocate for diabetes awareness. An expert in social media and its influence on patients, Kerri presents regularly at new media conferences and currently works full-time as a freelance writer and social media consultant. Kerri lives in Rhode Island with her husband Chris, their daughter, and a small army of cats.

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Jill Weissberg-Benchell, Ph.D., C.D.E., Pediatric Psychologist, Associate 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.




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Last Updated: Tuesday March 25, 2014 13:27:28
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