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  Back to 2013 Conference Friends for Life 2013 Faculty

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Barbara J. Anderson, PhD, is a behavioral scientist and licensed clinical psychologist with 30 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, medical, and quality of life 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. Her favorite work is advocacy for families living with diabetes. Dr. Anderson is currently Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Head, Psychology Section, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX.

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Lorraine Anderson, BSc, RD, CDE, is a registered dietitian and diabetes educator. She has had type 1 diabetes for 25 years and believes that having diabetes has made her a stronger and healthier person. Currently Lorraine is employed as a Clinical Manager with Animas Canada working in the Toronto area and is very passionate about insulin pump therapy. She enjoys working with kids with type 1 diabetes at Camp Huronda in the summer months and is a busy full-time mom/stepmom to her six children Nicholas, Nathan, Scott, Caroline, Caitlyn, and Kara.


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Henry Anhalt, DO, is the Senior Medical Director, US Medical Affairs, Medical Diabetes, at Sanofi. He came to Sanofi with five years of experience at Johnson and Johnson's Diabetes Care Franchise and over 20 years in clinical practice. Henry was Chief Medical Officer and Medical Director of the Artificial Pancreas Program for Animas Corporation. He served on the Management Board and directed the company’s medical and clinical activities. Henry’s primary area of focus was on the development and commercialization of the first generation Artificial Pancreas. He managed the strategic alliance of this uniquely co-funded project with JDRF. While he was there, he led two successful feasibility studies. Henry was also a critical driver in launching Animas' first integrated continuous glucose monitor and insulin pump combination in Europe. Prior to Johnson and Johnson, Henry was the Director of the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes at the Saint Barnabas Medical Center and co-director of its Healthy L.I.F.E. program, a family-centered, behaviorally based multi-disciplinary program for overweight children and their families. Prior to that appointment he was Chief, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes at Maimonides Children’s Hospital and was responsible for developing and running the State University of New York Downstate Medical School’s fellowship training program in pediatric endocrinology where he holds an Associate Professorship of Clinical Pediatrics. In keeping with his passion for children with diabetes, Henry is a trustee and Medical Director of camp Nejeda, a diabetes camp for children in Stillwater, NJ. He continues to maintain a part-time clinical pediatric endocrinology practice in New Jersey.

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Jessica Apple and her husband Mike Aviad co-created the online diabetes magazine ASweetLife.org. Mike was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2002, and Jessica was diagnosed with LADA in 2008. In addition to serving as editor in chief of ASweetLife, Jessica works as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in many publications including the New York Times Magazine, the Financial Times Magazine, and Slate. Jessica is a passionate diabetes advocate. She and Mike live with their three sons in Tel Aviv.

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A leader in the political advocacy field as a lobbyist and strategist for the past 20 years, Greg Aronin, BA, MPH, currently serves as Director, Federal Affairs, for Johnson & Johnson. Having talked with people from numerous other countries, Greg feels strongly that the U.S. political system offers the greatest opportunity for people to make a difference, and he is most rewarded when he can help others become effective advocates! Greg and his wife Alana love playing soccer and baseball with their four kids. Their favorite vacation spot is Walloon Lake, Michigan in the northern lower peninsula (across from Ernest Hemmingway’s childhood summer home), where the weather is nearly perfect in the summer and the water, trees and farms make it one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

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Mark Atkinson, PhD, is the American Diabetes Association Eminent Scholar for Diabetes Research in the Departments of Pathology and Pediatrics at the University of Florida. He is beginning his 30th year of research into questions regarding why type 1 diabetes develops as well as identify a means to prevent and reverse the disease. The author of over 300 scientific publications, Dr. Atkinson has received numerous awards for both his scientific and humanitarian based efforts to type 1 diabetes.

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Dana Ball, a patient advocate since the early 1980s has been driving innovative diabetes initiatives for over ten years, most recently as Program Director for the Helmsley Type 1 Diabetes Program at the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. Dana cofounded the T1D Exchange, organizing the team that designed and implemented the blueprint that is now the working T1D Exchange. He has also facilitated strategic partnerships with organizations such as the JDRF and the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

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Brandy Barnes, MSW, is the Founder & CEO of DiabetesSisters, a national 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the health and quality of life of women with and at risk for diabetes; and to advocate on their behalf. Through DiabetesSisters, she leads annual conferences for women with diabetes, a network of peer diabetes support groups in the US and Canada, and many online programs to connect and educate women with diabetes. Prior to founding DiabetesSisters in 2008, Mrs. Barnes worked as a Senior Sales Representative for Sanofi Pharmaceuticals. She also served as a Program Manager at the American Cancer Society and as a Clinical Trial Coordinator at the UNC Diabetes Care Center. Mrs. Barnes has served on the North Carolina Diabetes Advisory Council since 2000 and on the American Diabetes Association’s Women’s Workgroup since 2010. She has authored various diabetes-focused articles and book chapters. She also writes a blog on the DiabetesSisters' website, Updates from the Founder. Mrs. Barnes is currently co-authoring a book on women and diabetes with Natalie Strand (Winner of CBS' The Amazing Race, 2010), scheduled to be released in Spring 2014. Mrs. Barnes is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Master's degree in Social Work. She has lived with diabetes since 1990 and resides in Durham, North Carolina, with her husband, Chris, and daughter, Summer.

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Roy W. Beck, MD, PhD, a physician and epidemiologist, is the director of the Jaeb Center for Health Research in Tampa, Florida. In the midst of his more than 25 years' experience directing and coordinating multi-center clinical trials, type 1 diabetes became a major focus of his research after one of his children developed T1D, starting with the Diabetes Research in Children Network (DirecNet). In addition he has directed the coordinating center for the JDRF Continuous Glucose Monitoring trials and the JDRF Artificial Pancreas Project as well as two type 1 diabetes registries: the Pediatric Diabetes Consortium and the T1D Exchange, funded by the Leona M. & Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. Dr. Beck has been an author or co-author of more than 200 manuscripts in scientific journals. He has been a member of numerous committees of the National Institutes of Health and has served on several journal editorial boards.

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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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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, especially now that she has four teens. 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.

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Born in Cleveland, Ohio during the time of the burning of the great Cuyahoga River, Neil Benchell, JD, loves to make children laugh. After having spent years on the sideline as the "spouse" of one of the faculty members, Neil decided it was time to get involved. As one of the Teen Staff members, Neil is always in the thick of it trying to make the conferences a memorable experience for all. In his spare time, Neil tries his hand at patent litigation.

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Dr. Robert Bulgarelli is the Director of Integrative Cardiovascular Medicine for Main Line Health and a Board Certified cardiologist at Riddle Hospital in Media. He serves on the Main Line Health Healthy Workforce Council and chairs Riddle's Medical Nutrition committee, amongst others. Dr. Bob, as his patients call him is Co-Founder of Whole Life Health, a Behavioral Health company whose mission is the transformation of Health Care Delivery in the world. Dr. Bulgarelli's main area of interest and expertise is in the growing field of Mind / Body Spirit medicine and the emphasis on healthy behaviors and choices as the key to vitality and longevity. His company is on the leader in the training of Health Coaches and he utilizes their expertise in his practice of Integrative Cardiovascular Medicine. He is a skilled practitioner and teacher of meditation and is a Board Certified Medical Acupuncturist. In 2002, Dr. Bulgarelli was the 1st Cardiologist in the world to complete the two-year long Associate Fellowship in Integrative Medicine with Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona. Dr. Bob remains a faculty member with the Associate Fellowship, consulting on and moderating the cardiology and cardiovascular nutrition curriculum. He has been featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer, 6ABC and CN8. He has been published and quoted in many local and national magazines, including Main Line Today, Men's Health and Shape. A graduate of Philadelphia College of Medicine in 1990, Dr. Bulgarelli completed his medical internship at Mercy Catholic Medical Center in Darby, PA and his medical residency and cardiology fellowship at Lankenau Medical Center. Dr Bulgarelli has been a part of Main Line Health his entire clinical career that now spans over 20 years.

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Dr. Helene D. Clayton-Jeter is a Patient and Health Professional Liaison in the Office of Health and Constituent Affairs (OHCA), Office of External Affairs in the Office of the Commissioner at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. She assists in planning, developing, and evaluating FDA policies and programs related to patients and health care professionals. The office also manages FDA’s MedWatch and Patient Representative Programs. In her role at OHCA, she serves as a channel through which health professional and patient issues and viewpoints can be brought to the attention of FDA medical and regulatory staff. She also works with health professionals, health professional organizations, patients and patient advocacy groups on issues related to the FDA drug approval process, clinical trials and access to investigational therapies. Dr. Clayton-Jeter manages the FDA’s newly launched Cardiovascular and Endocrine Liaison Program, diabetes web page and Diabetes Monitor subscriber email. She serves as the OHCA subject-matter-expert in the ophthalmic arena and is the OHCA primary liaison to the Center for Device and Radiological Health. Dr. Clayton-Jeter has an O.D. (Doctor of Optometry) degree from Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University and holds a B.S. degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a patient and health professional advocate who had practiced clinical optometry in a variety of healthcare settings for 21 years prior to joining the staff at the Office of Health and Constituent Affairs.

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Kelly L. Close is president of Close Concerns, Inc., a healthcare information firm exclusively focused on the businesses of diabetes and obesity. The mission of Close Concerns is to improve patient outcomes by getting the best information on the state of the fields available globally to whoever needs it – companies, healthcare professionals, patients, and families. Kelly is editor-in-chief of diaTribe, a free online newsletter focused on new research and products for people with diabetes (diaTribe.us) that has over 20,000 subscribers. Additionally, she is active in dQ&A, Close Concerns’ sister company, a market research business that surveys over five thousand people with diabetes each quarter. She is a longtime diabetes advocate, and on the boards of the Diabetes Hands Foundation and the Behavioral Diabetes Institute. Before starting Close Concerns in 2002, Kelly was an equity research analyst at Merrill Lynch in medical technology; prior to this, she worked at McKinsey & Company. Kelly is a graduate of Amherst College, magna cum laude, and of the Harvard Business School. She has had type 1 diabetes for over 25 years.


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Will Cross is a world-class expedition leader and athlete. Raised in England until age 12, Cross has worked continually for more than 30 years to overcome challenges related to living with diabetes. Cross wants to show the millions of people with diabetes that they don't have to be defined by their disease and that those with the condition can manage it successfully. On May 23, 2006, as part of the NovoLog® Peaks and Poles Challenge, Cross became the first American and first person with diabetes to climb the highest peak on each continent and trek to the North and South Poles. Cross has successfully ascended Elbrus, Denali, Aconcagua, Mt. Blanc, the Matterhorn, Grand Teton, Kilimanjaro, Vinson, and Alpamayo and has reached the summit of Mt. Everest. He has also participated in expeditions to Patagonia, Mountains of the Moon, the Sahara Desert, and the Thar Desert of India. Will holds a Bachelor of Arts from Allegheny College, a Master of Science in Education from Duquesne University, and Secondary Principal’s Certification from the University of Pittsburgh, where he specialized in educational programs for troubled teens.

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Edward Damiano, PhD, 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 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 14-year-old son, David, developed type 1 diabetes before the age of one. His goal is to have the mathematical control algorithms 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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Kimberly M. Davis is a Director of Federal Affairs at Johnson & Johnson, representing the interests of Johnson & Johnson's Diabetes Franchise in front of the US Congress, the Executive Branch and with other external stakeholders. Kimberly has more than 15 years of political and health care public policy experience working with and for key congressional, regulatory, and executive-branch decision makers on important public policy issues areas. She participated in Friends for Life and other CWD initiatives, and she is committed to making a difference for families with type 1 diabetes. Kimberly resides in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband Todd, and their two young daughters.


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Dana Dignard, RD CDE, is a Senior Territory Manager with Animas Canada and has over 20 years experience as a paediatric diabetes educator. Dana has had type 1 diabetes for 28 years and enjoys sharing her personal and professional experience on managing this ever challenging disease. Dana lives in Courtice, Ontario with her husband of 20 years, Daniel, her two children, Mathieu and Cassia, and puppy Kirby.

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Alessio Fasano, M.D., 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 two sessions on celiac disease, which is more common in children with type 1 diabetes than the general population.

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Chris Fraker, Ph.D., is Research Assistant Professor of Surgery and Cell Transplantation and a member of the DRI's Biomedical and Tissue Engineering team. Since arriving at the DRI in 1997, Dr. Fraker, who has type 1 diabetes, has focused his research on the importance of oxygen for the survival and proliferation of insulin-producing islet cells, as well as on protecting islets from the immune system through the use of novel encapsulation strategies. He initially worked under the late Dr. Marcos Mares-Guia, a renowned Brazilian chemist, in the design of immunoisolation devices to shield islets from immune attack. Their work centered on incorporating an oxygen-binding compound, perfluorocarbon (PFC), into the device to enhance cell survival and hold a patent for this technology. He later used this same technology to incorporate PFC into a new culture device to increase proliferation of pancreatic cells in culture, called the "oxygen sandwich." The results of his research have been published in numerous peer-reviewed scientific journals.

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Julia L. Greenstein, Ph.D., joined JDRF as a consultant in 2005 and currently serves as JDRF's Vice President of Cure Therapies, one of JDRF’s core research initiatives. Many of the projects in the Cure Research portfolio also contribute toward our goal of preventing type 1 diabetes (T1D). In her more than 20 years of experience in the corporate biotechnology arena, Dr. Greenstein has held various leadership positions that have helped accelerate discoveries to market. From 2000 to 2005, Dr. Greenstein was the chief executive officer and president of Immerge BioTherapeutics, a Novartis and BioTransplant joint venture focused on the development of pig xenotransplantation for clinical practice. Prior to this position, she held the roles of chief scientific officer and senior vice president of research at BioTransplant and vice president of discovery research at ImmuLogic Pharmaceutical Corp. Dr. Greenstein currently serves on the Board of Directors of Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions and the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation. She also served on the board of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council and the Massachusetts Society for Medical Research. Dr. Greenstein received her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Russell Sage College and her doctorate in microbiology from University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, under the direction of Dr. Philippa Marrack. Dr. Greenstein was an assistant professor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute of Harvard Medical School after completing her postdoctoral work there and at the University of Rochester.

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Jen Hanson, BKin, BEd, MEd, has been living with diabetes for 26 years. She spent many a summer at Camp Huronda, an Ontario based camp for children with diabetes, were her love for adventure was fostered. Jen has a background in kinesiology, is a certified elementary school teacher, and has completed her master of education degree, researching community development through experiential diabetes education. Jen is the Director of Operations at Connected in Motion, has been involved with Children with Diabetes FFL in the UK, Canada, and the US, since 2009, and is a faculty member with the International Diabetes Federation's Young Leader's program. Jen has traveled throughout North America, Central America, to Europe, the United Arab Emirates and is excited to continue her adventures in Peru and Australia in 2013.

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Korey K. Hood, PhD, is Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and Staff Psychologist at UCSF's Madison Center for Pediatric Diabetes. Dr. Hood 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. He 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. 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 a decade managing 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.

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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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Sarah Ketcheson, BEd, BSc, has been living with type 1 for 14 years and counting! The majority of her diabetes 'life' was spent at Camp Huronda, a summer camp for kids with diabetes in Ontario, Canada, where she was both a camper and staff member for 10 years. Sarah is currently teaching at the elementary level in Calgary, Alberta. When not in school, she is lucky enough to hike in the Rocky Mountains as much as possible and go adventuring with the wonderful people of Connected in Motion, also serving as an Ambassador, helping to coordinate programs and events in Western Canada. Sarah has traveled to Africa, throughout Europe, as well as Central and North America. She recently backpacked the West Coast Trail and will be exploring Ecuador and Peru this summer.

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Scott Kyllo lives in British Columbia, Canada. He has two children, Alyssa (22) and Chad (19). Their path along the diabetes road started in 1996 when his son, Chad, then age 2 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 CWD 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 CWD'ers 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. Scott is a strong advocate of CWD 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.

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Lori Laffel, MD, MPH, is Chief of the Pediatric, Adolescent and Young Adult Section and an Investigator in the Section on Genetics and Epidemiology at Joslin Diabetes Center and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Laffel has been involved with postdoctoral fellowship and early career development training as Principal Investigator/Program Director of NIH training grants for pediatric endocrinologists. She is involved with the American Diabetes Association on the Boston Leadership Board and past member of the National Board of Directors, and as Chair of the Working Group on Transitions in Diabetes Care and Chair of ADA's Youth Strategies Committee. She also has been a member of the Advisory Board of the International Society of Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes. She is on the Clinical Advisory Committee for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Dr. Laffel received her MD from University of Miami School of Medicine and her MPH from Harvard School of Public Health. She trained in Pediatrics and Pediatric Endocrinology at Boston Children's Hospital and Joslin Diabetes Center.

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Lauren Lanning, mom of Monica, 19, dx 8/96, pumping 5/99, CGM 9/05, and Sarah, 17 ... 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 has served 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 The Children's Diabetes Foundation at Denver as the IT Manager.

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Dan Masucci lives in New York where he has been a stay-at-home father since his first child’s birth. In 2007, he made it into the top 1% of more than 12,000 directors competing for a place on the Steven Spielberg/FOX Reality show, "On The Lot". The films Dan has written and directed have screened collectively at 150 film festival screenings worldwide, garnering more than 25 national and international awards. Very familiar with the 3 a.m. alarm clock and blood glucose tests that follow, Dan has been a T1 dad since 2009.

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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 book "The Everything Parents Guide to Juvenile Diabetes" and creator of the blog Despitediabetes, McCarthy is a well-known national diabetes advocate 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, now a college student 500 miles away from home, is thriving. Their mantra: despite diabetes, you need to get busy living.

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Diana M. Naranjo, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and researcher at the University of California San Francisco’s Madison Center for Pediatric Diabetes. As a trained pediatric and adult psychologist working in behavioral medicine, Dr. Naranjo focuses on the psychosocial needs of patients and families with diabetes. Currently, she is working on developing a transition program within the Madison Center for adolescents and young adults with type 1 diabetes as they transition from pediatric to adult health care. 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.

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Sara Nicastro, M.Ed., was diagnosed with diabetes in February of 2003, the week before her birthday during her senior year of college. A few months after her diagnosis, she began graduate school and completed a Masters of Education in College Student Affairs in 2005. Over the past ten years, she has worked in many different areas of higher education including new student orientation, academic advising, residence life, disability services, and career counseling. She currently writes at MomentsofWonderful.com and serves as the Social Media Committee Chair for the Advisory Board of the Diabetes Community Advocacy Foundation and is also a member of the Advisory Board for the You Can Do This Project.

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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 7 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 t1works.blogspot.com. He is currently Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine at Penn State University College of Medicine. 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.

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Tamara Oser, MD, is Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine at Pennsylvania State University College of 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. She is wife to Sean Oser, MD who has lived with type 1 diabetes for 24 years, and is mom to twins Courtney and Jessica (age 10). 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 t1family.blogspot.com.

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Jeremy Pettus, MD, is an endocrinology fellow at the University of California, San Diego. After being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes himself at the age of 15, Dr. Pettus has dedicated his career toward treating and educating others with the disease. In addition to his clinical work at UCSD, Dr Pettus is also involved in basic immunology research with a focus on cure based therapies. Finally, Dr Pettus has interests in patient empowerment through education. He is very involved with the not-for-profit organization entitled Taking Control of Your Diabetes. With this organization, Dr Pettus speaks at patient-centered conferences around the country and heads the conference's "Type 1 Diabetes" track.

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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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Michelle Rago is an attorney and mom of two children with diabetes. Her son Trent was diagnosed at age 4 in 2000. Her family adopted daughter Maya -- diagnosed at one month -- from foster care in 2006. Her daughter Michela is proud to be a caregiver. Michelle is active with the American Diabetes Association Legal Advocacy group. She was awarded the Ben Teel Memorial Prize for Public Service at Harvard (where she founded a homeless shelter); the Charles Evan Hughes Fellowship for Public Service at Columbia Law School (where she represented children in foster care and worked on desegregation); and the Jeff Hitchcock Distinguished Service Award (for her work with CWD families).

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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 launch of the USF T1D Exchange Clinical Center, markedly increasing local TrialNet recruitment activities, 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 a member of the ADA National Board, Professional Practice Committee and the Research Grant Review Committee 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.

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Christina Roth is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the College Diabetes Network (CDN). CDN is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, whose mission is to empower and improve the lives of students living with type 1 diabetes through peer support and access to information and resources. Christina is dedicated to CDN’s vision of creating a college community, which will enable students living with T1D to thrive in all of their personal, healthcare, and scholastic accomplishments. Diagnosed at age 14, Christina’s experiences living with T1D have fueled her passion to help empower and improve the lives of others living with the disease. Christina graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, after which she worked as a Research Assistant at the Joslin Diabetes Center, before later transitioning to run CDN full-time in 2012. In addition to CDN, Christina also works in the Research Department of the T1D Exchange.

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Stefan Rubin was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1979 and was lucky to be on the frontier of insulin pump use when he began pumping in 1983. He feels that living well with diabetes has been an education and an exercise that has prepared him for the hurdles we must negotiate every day. Stefan lives in Baltimore, Maryland, where he also coaches soccer. He works outside of the diabetes field, but stays up-to-date on products and practices to serve as a resource to friends, family, co-workers and strangers. The highlight of every year is attending FFL with his wife and kids, which they have done since 2002, except for the year they scheduled poorly and their youngest was born during session dates.


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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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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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Five years ago, Dan Shannon filmmaker and father, learned the news his daughter Katia was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Their lives forever changed, father and daughter set out to document the story of teen diabetes around the world, culminating in Sweet16, a recently completed documentary showcasing the highs and lows of living with type 1 diabetes.

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Joe Solowiejczyk, RN, MSW, CDE, was President of InBalance Healthcare, a counseling and education service for health care professionals and adults and children with diabetes, for over 10 years. He also worked for LifeScan as Manager of Diabetes Counseling & Training and is a faculty member of the Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute. Joe is healthcare professional who has lived with Type 1 diabetes for over 50 years. Mr. Solowiejczyk has been able to translate his personal experience into patient care. As a diabetes nurse educator and family therapist, he specializes in assessing how family dynamics impact management of diabetes and designing interventions that result in more effective coping and optimal metabolic control.


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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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Cherie Stabler, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering & Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Director of the Tissue Engineering Laboratory at the Diabetes Research Institute. Dr. Stabler’s research focuses on the design and development of various biohybrid devices and islet encapsulation techniques and evaluating how these barriers can protect the islets against the vigorous immunological and inflammatory responses of the recipient. Among her many projects, Dr. Stabler and her team have developed the sponge-like, silicone scaffold that is being used as one of the platforms for a DRI BioHub. Dr. Stabler has a background in both chemical and biomedical engineering. She received her doctoral degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology/Emory University Department of Biomedical Engineering.


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Sandy Struss was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 17, but she hasn't let that slow her down! She has been involved in the diabetes community over the years as an enthusiastic volunteer, patient advocate, and powerful motivational speaker. With a contagious passion and energy present in her everyday life as well as the platform, Sandy is a familiar face to many, having spoken to audiences of people with diabetes and healthcare professionals across Canada for the past 6 years. Her latest challenge was trekking to Machu Picchu in Peru as part of TeamONE, a group of young people living with type 1 diabetes and raising funds for a cure, while spreading awareness and showing that diabetes doesn't have to hold you back from pursuing your dreams. In her professional life, Sandy is the Marketing Manager for Animas Canada.

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Lee Ann Thill, MA, ATR-BC, LPC, has had type 1 diabetes since 1978. She is a registered board-certified art therapist and Pennsylvania licensed professional counselor, helping people with diabetes address issues like depression, burnout, food and body issues, and family conflict through arts-based interventions and psychotherapy in her private practice in suburban Philadelphia. Lee Ann is a doctoral student at Lesley University in Boston. Her current research project, VIAL Project, is a social media website for teens and adults with type 1 diabetes and food and body issues to connect and share arts-based self-expression. She is founder and facilitator of Diabetes Art Day and the World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange, author of the diabetes blog, The Butter Compartment, and Adjunct Professor of Art Therapy at Holy Family University. Lee Ann enjoys spending time with her husband, Jason, dog, Kaylee, and iguana, Darwin. She believes creative expression is a path to healing.

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Marissa Town, BSN, RN, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 24 months old. She completed her bachelor of science in nursing in 2009 and works as a nurse in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. She loves working with kids who have diabetes. Marissa brings her experiences as a diabetes camp counselor, nurse, and young adult with diabetes as she works with teens and adults at CWD's conferences.

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Chloe Vance, BA, BPHE, BEd, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 18. That was the catalyst for her to pursue a career where physical activity and a healthy lifestyle were paramount. An experienced teacher, outdoor educator and expedition guide, wild outdoor spaces have become Chloe’s classroom, office and playground. Chloe has spent the past decade teaching and guiding canoe and raft-based expeditions across Canada and the Arctic. She gets a kick out of problem solving how to manage her diabetes in new situations – while guiding expeditions to the Arctic Ocean, on the back of a dog sled at -40°C, while backcountry ski touring in Norway, while circumnavigating the South Island of New Zealand by bicycle, backpacking through different continents and summiting remote peaks – she strives to live life with diabetes without limits. One of her greatest, ongoing adventures has been founding Connected in Motion (www.connectedinmotion.ca) a not-for-profit organization that uses outdoor adventure and physical activity to engage young adults with type 1 diabetes in a process of experiential diabetes education.

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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.


  Friends for Life 2013 Conference and Expo  
  Introduction - Registration - Exhibitors - Sponsors - Convention Center Map (PDF)  
  Faculty - Youth Faculty - Grandparents Faculty - CWD Staff - Sports Central Staff  
  Schedule: Parents & Adults - Youth - Focus Groups - Social Events  
  Childcare Form (PDF) - FAQs  
  Reports from 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001  



                 
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Last Updated: Thursday February 27, 2014 19:57:18
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