Back to Houston 2010 Conference Houston 2010 Faculty and Staff

Conference Faculty

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Barbara J. Anderson, PhD, is a behavioral scientist and licensed clinical psychologist with 25 years of experience in diabetes research as well as in clinical work with youth with diabetes and their families. She has published extensively on the relationships between emotional and family factors with adherence and medical outcomes in youth with diabetes. Dr. Anderson is currently working with two multi-site NIH-funded trials-one with youth with type 1 and families and the other with youth with type 2 and families. Dr. Anderson is currently Professor of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, and Senior Psychologist, Diabetes Care Center, Texas Children's Hospital.

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Natalie Bellini, 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 her own teen, Erin, who is now a sophomore in college.

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Jeff Hitchcock is the creator, editor, webmaster and president of Children with Diabetes. After earning a degree in computational mathematics in 1981, Jeff worked in high tech and traveled the world, meeting Brenda, who would become his wife, in Africa. He worked in defense related industries 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.

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Crystal Jackson is Associate Director of Legal Advocacy at the American Diabetes Association (ADA)'s National 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 and another parent advocate teamed up 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 model for safe and effective diabetes care. Crystal is a former litigation paralegal with the Philadelphia law firm of Fox, Rothschild, O'Brien & Frankel. She is 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 was most recently appointed to Novo Nordisk's U. S. DAWN Youth Study Advisory Board. She resides in Loudoun County, VA with her family.

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Lauren Lanning, mom of Monica, 15, dx 8/96, pumping 5/99, CGM 9/05, and Sarah, 13 ... her CWD "sig line." Lauren became involved with CWD shortly after her daughter was diagnosed in 1996. 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. Lauren now coordinates the Elementary Programming for every CWD conference. Back home in Denver, she is on the boards of the JDRF and CWD Foundation. She and her husband Steve have chaired and coached her local JDRF Ride team for many years. Lauren has worked as an elementary school computer teacher and now works at an investment banking firm as a researcher.

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Steve Ponder MD, FAAP, CDE, PWD is a busy pediatric endocrinologist practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas. He's been a PWD (person with diabetes) since March 1, 1966. While his life has been shaped by his diabetes, it's not controlled by it. Like others he hopes for the day that diabetes will be a thing of the past, but realizes we must live in the present. His greatest achievement is his family, which includes a lovely wife, Patsy and three adult children, Charlotte, Rachel and Jack. He founded the unique and innovative Diabetes Housecall program in 2007 (www.diabeteshousecall.com) and has helped secure over 1.2 million dollars in local and federal funding for diabetes home telehealth programs for south Texas and beyond. The challenge of children with type 2 diabetes across South Texas continues to one of many of his clinical interests. His website, www.challengediabetes.com, is now in its 4th year and he tweets regularly at twitter.com/Dr_Steve_Ponder. He is a weekly newspaper columnist on all things diabetes, Doctor's Orders, in the Corpus Christi Caller Times (www.caller.com), now in its 3rd year. He speaks nationally and internationally on topics ranging from child obesity, type 2 diabetes in children, and advanced insulin pump therapy.

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Michelle Rago is a CWD mom and active member of the parents' list. She graduated from Harvard University (magna cum laude) where she received the Ben Teel Memorial Prize for Public Service. She graduated from Columbia University School of Law, where she represented children in foster care and received a Charles Evans Hughes Fellowship for public service. Michelle's son Trent was diagnosed in 2000 at age 4. Due to the diagnosis, Trent's daycare would not accept him back. Since then, Michelle has become well versed in the changing laws with relation to diabetes and school, insurance coverage, and discrimination on account of diabetes. She is active with the American Diabetes Association Legal Advocacy group. Michelle has recently become an expert on monogenic diabetes, after it was discovered that her adopted daughter Maya had monogenic, not Type 1, diabetes. (Michelle's family adopted Maya from foster care after hearing about her at a CWD conference.) Michelle is also mom to Michela and husband to Tim, both of whom actively participate in diabetes care at home. For her work with CWD families, Michelle was awarded the Jeff Hitchcock Distinguished Service Award in 2006.

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Harold Sanco is the 1998 United States National Master's 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. He is an internationally acclaimed instructor having taught in seven countries. His "Urban Funk" aerobics class has been highlighted in People, Allure and "W" magazines. At CWD conference, Harold helps kids and adults learn that exercising can be fun.

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Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE, having had type 1 diabetes since 1985 and working as a Certified Diabetes Educator since 1993, knows the latest and best techniques for achieving optimal diabetes control. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Gary has authored a book and dozens of articles, and speaks at local and national meetings on diabetes, fitness and motivation. Gary received the 1997 William Martin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Patient Activities by the American Diabetes Association, as well as the 1998 Allene Van Son Award for the development of effective diabetes teaching tools by the American Association of Diabetes Educators. In 2002, he was granted the Novo Nordisk Diabetes Education Research award for the study of basal insulin levels in pump users. Gary owns and operates Integrated Diabetes Services, a private practice located just outside of Philadelphia, specializing in intensive blood glucose control and lifestyle intervention for people with diabetes.

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Mike Schurig, MS, RD, LD, CDE, serves as Conferences and Content Manager for Children With Diabetes. As a diabetes educator, registered dietitian and person with type 1 diabetes since the age of 12, Mike has had extensive experience in diabetes education with kids and parents. 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 daughter Allyson.

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Anne Sides, RD, CDE, is all about diabetes. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of six, and since then she has lived her passion of helping people, especially children with diabetes, understand the disease and effectively manage it to improve the quality of their lives. Since 1994, Anne served as a diabetes educator and dietitian for hospital systems in both Alabama and Mississippi, where she contributed to the care of hundreds of children, teens, and adults with diabetes. Anne now works with Animas Corporation and serves as territory manager for this region. Anne serves as a member of the board of directors of the Southeastern Diabetes Education Services (SDES), and was chosen by Animas to be a part of its task force for the development and innovation of new diabetes products and technology. It is Anne's work and special connection with children with diabetes that is the most gratifying and exciting for her, and which leads her each year to do volunteer work with several diabetes-related groups and organizations. This includes serving on the faculty of Camp Seale Harris, a residential diabetes education program held annually at Camp ASCCA near Alexander City, Alabama. Anne and her husband, Terry, reside in Birmingham.

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Jim Vail was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 19 while he was a sophomore at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Jim graduated with a degree in Media Communications and was a producer for CNBC Business news in Washington, D.C., for nine years all the while wrestling with the unpredictability of NPH and Regular insulin. After finally going on a pump in October of 2001 and 'getting his life back,' Jim pursued Animas Corporation, the maker of his insulin pump, for a job and a chance to reach others with diabetes. Jim made the jump from CNBC and has been with Animas Corporation since April 2002.

Teen Faculty

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Natalie Bellini, 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 her own teen, Erin, who is now a sophomore in college.

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Carolyn Billetdeaux graduated from college with a degree in international business and Spanish. She is older sister to Sam, who has had diabetes for almost twelve years. Carolyn presents type 1 diabetes as a family disease: it affects everyone. She was a founding member of IDYA and founded the Supplies branch of the Children with Diabetes Foundation in 2003. She loves traveling and meeting other CWD families.

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Jim Vail was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 19 while he was a sophomore at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Jim graduated with a degree in Media Communications and was a producer for CNBC Business news in Washington, D.C., for nine years all the while wrestling with the unpredictability of NPH and Regular insulin. After finally going on a pump in October of 2001 and 'getting his life back,' Jim pursued Animas Corporation, the maker of his insulin pump, for a job and a chance to reach others with diabetes. Jim made the jump from CNBC and has been with Animas Corporation since April 2002.

Tween Faculty

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Justin Abel attended his first CWD conference in 2002 after his daughter Saylor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in December 2001. Once he started attending more CWD conferences, his wife Sunshine did not have to twist his arm for him to realize he wanted to get more involved. He is also dad to Sierra, who is a teen volunteer with CWD.


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Kim Kelly, Pharm. D., 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 Diabetes Exercise and Sports Association. 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 in the Orlando and Universal City Friends for Life conferences, where he became 'hooked' in working with the wonderful CWD kids and families. He joined CWD as 'regular faculty' in 2004, focusing on the Tween programming and providing presentations on various topics to parents as well.

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Melissa Ringley, RN, CDE, became a registered nurse in 1991. Shortly afterward, Elizabeth, her 3 year old daughter, was diagnosed with diabetes. It became abundantly clear to Melissa that she should learn all she could to help her daughter maintain a healthy and happy life with diabetes. Melissa has dedicated her entire career to diabetes since that moment. She brings her own personal experience to CWD families and understands the many stages of development and how diabetes impacts both the patient and family. Melissa's previous career as a certified diabetes educator has included a variety of settings including diabetes education centers, multi-physician practices, and hospitals. Melissa's expertise is in insulin pump therapy in children. She has been working with Animas Corporation since 2001. At Animas, she has worked both nationally and internationally as a clinical manager and she is now a Territory Manager in Tennessee. Her daughter is now a junior in college.

Elementary Faculty

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Sunshine Abel, LVN, is the mother of two beautiful girls, Sierra and Saylor. She attended her first CWD conference with her family in 2002, after Saylor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Ever since then, Sunshine knew she had found a new family and a new home where kids were experiencing the same thing as Saylor. She then made it her mission to involve her whole family, including her Aunt Libby. Sunshine, husband Justin, and Aunt Libby all have volunteered for several years at Friends for Life conferences.


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Lauren Lanning, mom of Monica, 15, dx 8/96, pumping 5/99, CGM 9/05, and Sarah, 13 ... her CWD "sig line." Lauren became involved with CWD shortly after her daughter was diagnosed in 1996. 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. Lauren now coordinates the Elementary Programming for every CWD conference. Back home in Denver, she is on the boards of the JDRF and CWD Foundation. She and her husband Steve have chaired and coached her local JDRF Ride team for many years. Lauren has worked as an elementary school computer teacher and now works at an investment banking firm as a researcher.

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Michelle Rago is a CWD mom and active member of the parents' list. She graduated from Harvard University (magna cum laude) where she received the Ben Teel Memorial Prize for Public Service. She graduated from Columbia University School of Law, where she represented children in foster care and received a Charles Evans Hughes Fellowship for public service. Michelle's son Trent was diagnosed in 2000 at age 4. Due to the diagnosis, Trent's daycare would not accept him back. Since then, Michelle has become well versed in the changing laws with relation to diabetes and school, insurance coverage, and discrimination on account of diabetes. She is active with the American Diabetes Association Legal Advocacy group. Michelle has recently become an expert on monogenic diabetes, after it was discovered that her adopted daughter Maya had monogenic, not Type 1, diabetes. (Michelle's family adopted Maya from foster care after hearing about her at a CWD conference.) Michelle is also mom to Michela and husband to Tim, both of whom actively participate in diabetes care at home. For her work with CWD families, Michelle was awarded the Jeff Hitchcock Distinguished Service Award in 2006.

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Kyley Roberts was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in July 2001 at the age of 12. She is a senior at the University of St. Thomas and will be graduating in May with a Bachelors in Biology. She plans to pursue a career in diabetes care. Kyley has been involved with various organizations such as the ADA and JDRF since shortly after she was diagnosed. She has also participated in some of the conferences held by CWD including the Friends for Life conference in Orlando, Florida.


Childcare

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Mary Babin, RN, BSN, CDE is one of the first clinical employees at Animas Corporation and the first coordinator of childcare for the little ones at the CWD conferences. Mary leads a team of certified diabetes educators providing childcare in a safe environment for kids under age six with and without diabetes. Providing this service alleviates the concerns of many parents of kids with diabetes – allowing them to attend the sessions with peace of mind knowing that their children are cared for by skilled professionals. This supports Mary’s belief that education is the key to successful blood glucose management. As Executive Director of Clinical and Patient Services at Animas, she is responsible for overseeing pump educators and the pump support team throughout the US. Mary has devoted her career to the world of medicine. As a graduate of Eastern University and Presbyterian School of Nursing, Mary has been in intensive care nursing for over 25 years and a Certified Diabetes Educator for 10. This busy mom and devoted professional has been involved with CWD since 2001. You can spot her at the conferences-she’s the one with the trail of kids behind her!

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Intissar Ben Halim 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, especially now that she has two teens. She and her family reside in King-of-Prussia, Pennsylvania.

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Catherine Schulz lives in Southern California with her husband Harry and their six children. She was doing okay managing six kids – even with four-month-old twins – when diabetes struck her three-year-old daughter Emma and changed the family dynamic forever. She is currently attending school in pursuit of a psychology degree in the hopes that she might one day help other families facing the struggles that come up when a family member is diagnosed with a chronic illness. Formerly a neat freak with a penchant for perfect linen closets and sparkling baseboards, Catherine's new goal in life is to become a model of the laid back mom who simply manages the chaos with as cheerful an attitude as possible. She loves everything about the CWD conferences, but is particularly fond of the fact that it is four days filled with children and poolside friends, but completely lacking in dishes and laundry.

CWD Staff

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Jeff Hitchcock is the creator, editor, webmaster and president of Children with Diabetes. After earning a degree in computational mathematics in 1981, Jeff worked in high tech and traveled the world, meeting Brenda, who would become his wife, in Africa. He worked in defense related industries 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.

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A finicky connoisseur of hotel meeting space, cappuccino, and kid-friendly cheese and fruit platters, Laura Billetdeaux is CWD's VP of Education and Programs. Since 2000, Laura has organized every single CWD conference, always keeping in mind the true purpose of CWD - education and support of families with type 1, and always keeping in mind why it all works – the efforts of so many dedicated individuals. Laura lives in Manchester, Michigan with husband Neal, who graciously and energetically assists with the conference teen programs. They are parents of Sam and Carolyn who both attend universities and serve as youth faculty at CWD conferences as time allows.

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Mike Schurig, MS, RD, LD, CDE, serves as Conferences and Content Manager for Children With Diabetes. As a diabetes educator, registered dietitian and person with type 1 diabetes since the age of 12, Mike has had extensive experience in diabetes education with kids and parents. 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 daughter Allyson.

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Julia Mattingly is mom to 13 year old Hannah and 11 year old Ethan, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 10 months and who started pumping when he was 3. Julia, Ed, and the kids have been to every single Friends for Life conference and most of the regionals as well! Julia coordinates registration at each conference, and you can always find her when you need a smile and a "Hi Y'All!" Julia loves being in charge of the registration area because she gets to meet everyone who walks in the door. Her best CWD memory is from 2001 when she met all of her CWD email buddies in Orlando for the first time. She also loves to see the smiles on her kids' faces when they re-connect with their CWD friends each summer.

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