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Conference Faculty

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Mike Avery has lived an exciting a Hollywood life since his diagnosis with diabetes in 1993. At the age of three, dressed as a trouble-making troll, Mike became the youngest stunt performer in the industry. By age 12, he was a precision driver able to intentionally spin and crash his car. Since then, Mike has made a career of crashing cars, falling off of buildings, and getting set on fire. He has jumped from bridges, helicopters, and airplanes pretending to be some of Hollywood’s biggest names. He has over 100 film, television, and commercial credits and is known for his work on Titanic (1997), The Prestige (2006), Ocean’s 13 (2007), The O.C., Hannah Montana, Grimm, and Horrible Bosses (2011) among others. A lifelong athlete, Mike more recently became interested in sprint distance triathlons. In 2015, he completed his first full Ironman as part of Riding on Insulin’s Endurance Team, which included 40 other athletes with diabetes. His advocacy efforts leading up to the Ironman helped Mike realize his true passion – educating and encouraging fellow people with diabetes. Mike finds that staying active, using an insulin pump, and a strong support system have helped him lead a healthy and exciting life. His athletic commitments in 2016 include three full Ironman races, several half-marathons, and sprint races around his hometown of Los Angeles.

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Jen Block, FNP, RN, CDE, CDTC, pursued a career in diabetes education, clinical research, and diabetes clinical care after she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 19 years ago. Jen has recently joined the team at Bigfoot Biomedical, Inc. where she works as the Director of Clinical Innovation. She enjoys participating in Friends for Life conferences, and is looking forward to FFL Anaheim.

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Bruce Buckingham, MD, is a Professor of Pediatric Endocrinology at Stanford Medical Center. His research interests have focused on continuous glucose monitoring in children. He is Principal Investigator at Stanford for DirecNet, an NIH sponsored multicenter study group which evaluates continuous glucose sensors in children. His current work focuses on the use of continuous glucose sensors in real-time, and the development of a closed-loop. These efforts are being funded by the JDRF and NIH and are currently focused on preventing nocturnal hypoglycemia and rapidly restoring metabolic control at the onset of diabetes.

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Keary Cheney is a storyteller and cultivator of hope. She is a wife and mom to Oliver Brave (2) and Zola Jo (8). Keary was diagnosed with type 1 while in DKA and a coma at the age of 26 (2 years ago) in the middle of their son’s adoption in Uganda. Two and a half months after her diagnosis, she and her husband, Justin, started fostering a girl in Uganda who was also just diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. After 15 months in Uganda, they came home to America in March 2016 as a family of four. Keary’s diagnosis has given her a passion for encouraging others to find hope in their own journey and to use their story for something greater. She recently acted in and co-produced the Telly Award winning Before It’s Too Late PSA campaign to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of undiagnosed type 1 diabetes. Keary loves coffee, writing, low carb cooking with Zola, and post dinner dance parties to their favorite Ugandan music with her kids.

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Adam Graybill is General Manager/Senior Director for Diabetes Care at Cardinal Health at Home, a Cardinal Health company that is ranked number 21 on the Fortune 500. Graybill has led the diabetes business for Cardinal Health at Home for over 10 years, focusing the efforts of the organization on delivering quality services and driving an improved patient experience. During his tenure the diabetes business has taken a leadership position in the market and has diversified into pharmacy and disease management services. Graybill currently serves on the board of directors for the JDRF Northeast Ohio Chapter. Previous to his current role, Graybill has been in roles of increasing responsibility in the disciplines of marketing, sales and product management within Cardinal Health. Prior to Cardinal Health, Graybill held a Merchandise Management role at Cedar Fair, LP and was a Sales Representative for Freeman Manufacturing & Supply. Graybill earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Bowling Green State University.

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Mark Heyman, PhD, CDE, is a diabetes psychologist, Certified Diabetes Educator, and Founder and Director of the Center for Diabetes and Mental Health (CDMH) in Solana Beach, CA. Mark provides education and evidence-based clinical treatment to people with diabetes, cutting-edge training to health care providers, and innovative program development and strategic consulting services to the diabetes business community. Mark received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from The George Washington University and completed his psychology internship at the UCSD School of Medicine. He holds an appointment as a Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSD. He has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1999.


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

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


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Reese Isbell, MPP, was promoted to California Life Sciences Association (CLSA) Director of Local Government & Community Relations in June 2016 from his position as Associate Director, Government Affairs. Reece is responsible for the management of CLSA’s local-level community engagement, advocacy, and government relations activities throughout the state. He is based out of CLSA's South San Francisco office. Before moving to the Bay Area, Reese spent four years as a legislative advocate on the Hill in Washington, DC which included oversight on state legislation in each of the 50 state capitals. Reese attained a Masters in Public Policy degree from the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University in New Jersey and a Bachelor's in Sociology from the University of Missouri Kansas City– his original hometown community.


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

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

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

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Alain Silk, PhD, is a senior reviewer in the diabetes device group at FDA. He earned a Ph.D. in cell biology from the University of California, San Diego. Before joining FDA, Alain was a science lecturer at American University in Washington, D.C. As a person with type 1 diabetes, Alain has a personal connection with Friends for Life families.


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Bruce Taylor is a healthcare veteran with more than 35 years of experience in senior sales, marketing, health policy and advocacy positions with pharmaceutical manufacturers, chain pharmacies, managed care, and medical device manufacturers. Bruce has extensive experience within numerous therapeutic areas that include cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, burn care, diabetes, lipids and CNS. Bruce co-founded the Diabetes Care Project with the National Minority Quality Forum to address the world-wide epidemic of diabetes and the impact to local, national and global communities. He actively participates on advisory boards for the ADA, AACE, CWD, AADE, The Endocrine Society, the National Minority Quality Forum and AMGF. Mr. Taylor is a highly regarded expert, prominent thought leader and sought-after speaker on topics that include business implications and legislative impacts to the pharmaceutical and medical device industry. Diabetes isn’t just a professional assignment for Bruce but a disease that is personal and demands his attention 24/7/365. He was diagnosed in 1980 and has actively managing his diabetes for over 30 years. Bruce earned a Bachelor of Science degree (human anatomy / physiology) from Baldwin Wallace College with post graduate work in cardiac physiology. In his prime, Bruce Taylor owned the distinction of world class powerlifter and qualified for the 1980 Olympic games.

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

CWD Staff

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Jeff Hitchcock is the Founder, President, creator, editor, and webmaster 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 Friends for Life® conference, always keeping in mind the true purpose of Children with Diabetes® — 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 her husband Neal. They are parents of Sam and Carolyn who both serve as youth faculty at Children with Diabetes® conferences as time allows.

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Noor Alramahi, 29 years old, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of six and proud mother of two-year-old old twin boys, Rakan and Kareem. She served as a volunteer at her local hospital in the United Arab Emirates, helping newly diagnosed children and their families. Since moving to the San Francisco Bay area in 2012, she has volunteered with the American Diabetes Association in San Jose and works with an organization called Carb DM, that provides support and education for people and families living with Type 1 Diabetes. She is also part of a local Bay Area type 1 diabetes group called Sugar Mommas that offers support for women in the family planning, pregnancy and motherhood phases. Noor has attended Friends for Life Orlando for nine years and counting!


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Brenda Hitchcock is mom to Marissa (dx’d at 24 months), Kathryn, and Tim. She’s worked side by side with her husband Jeff on Children with Diabetes® since it began in 1995. Brenda brings a mom’s perspective to diabetes care, is editor of the “Ask the Diabetes Team” section of the Children with Diabetes® website, helps to manage the Children with Diabetes® Forums, and helps out in countless ways at Friends for Life® conferences.

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Chad Kyllo lives in the great white north of British Columbia, Canada. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of two and celiac at age seven. He has attended Camp Elphinstone in Gibsons, BC, since the age of six including leadership training, and he returned as a "Midnight Rambler" working with the medical staff doing the midnight and 3 a.m. blood glucose checks of the campers. Chad has attended many CWD conferences with his first one in 2002. He has helped at conferences working with children, as part of the Road Crew in the exhibit hall, and helping to keep the presentations running smoothly. To Chad, diabetes is a challenge he faces every day, but no more challenging than putting the right sock on the right foot. "Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can."


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

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Julia Mattingly is mom to 21 year old Hannah and 19 year old Ethan, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 10 months and started pumping when he was three. Julia, Ed, and the kids have been to every 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 coordinating registration and being able to meet and talk to everyone who walks in the door. Her best Friends for Life® memory is from 2000 when she met all of her CWD email moms in Orlando for the first time. She also loves to see the smiles on her children’s faces when they re-connect with their CWD friends each summer.

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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. He is currently Director of Group Exercise at Sport & Health Club in Washington, DC.

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Kristen Seiz, MS, RD, CLC, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of nine. Managing this untamable disease initiated a career in healthcare for her. She earned her Masters degree in Dietetics at D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY. Kristen’s first CWD conference was in 2011. She fell in love with the people and relationships she formed. In 2015, Kristen became the dietitian for the conferences and has loved it ever since. Between menu planning, carbohydrate counting and allergy accommodations, she is looking forward to tasting all the food, working with the kids, seeing old friends and making many more!

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Joanne Stroud, MHA, FACHE, is first and foremost a CWD Mom. Her son Ben was diagnosed in 1998 at the age of 10 and Children with Diabetes® quickly became their lifeline. She attended her first Friends for Life® conference in 2003 and instantly became hooked, telling Laura she’d do anything (within reason of course!) she could to assist Children with Diabetes®. Both Ben and his brother James are now ‘giving back’ as Friends for Life® staff. When not hanging with her FFLs, Joanne is a Training Specialist for Kinnser Software. She and Jim, a CRNA, have one other son, Kyle who lives in Portland, with his wife Sarah.

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Jim Stroud, CRNA, MSNA, is first and foremost a servant of his wife, Joanne. He is also Dad to Ben, diagnosed at age 10 in 1998. Jim was thrilled to coach the CWD Western Hemisphere Soccer Team on its tour of Italy in 2004. When not doing whatever Joanne, Jeff, Laura, and everyone else listed above tell him to do, Jim gives anesthesia and is an adjunct professor of Nurse Anesthesia in San Diego, California.



  Friends for Life® Anaheim 2017 Conference and Expo  
  Introduction - Registration - Sponsors  
  Faculty and Staff - Youth Staff - Program - Youth Program  
  Floor Plan - Exhibitor Application  
  Recent Conference Reports: Anaheim - Orlando - Falls Church  



                 
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Last Updated: Monday April 10, 2017 18:56:18
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