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Conference Faculty

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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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Diagnosed at age 8, Sam Billetdeaux has always been determined not to let diabetes get in the way of his ambitions. While those ambitions have changed over the years, the determination hasn't. Sam, now 27, lives in Brooklyn with his girlfriend Grace and his FFL Ben, whom he met over 10 years ago on a CWD Youth Ambassador trip to Italy. He enjoys biking with friends, going to the dog park, and seeking out the best pizza/ramen/coffee/brunch in New York! Sam graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education in July 2016.

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Lauren Clary, PhD, is the clinical psychologist for the Division of Endocrinology & Diabetes at Children’s National Health System in Washington, DC. Dr. Clary works with parents and children ranging from young children through young adults experiencing a wide range of challenges including difficulties adjusting to their diabetes diagnosis or to completing daily diabetes management tasks. Dr. Clary also participates in an active clinical research program at the hospital and has authored scientific papers on parents and children impacted by childhood illness.


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Edward Damiano, PhD, is Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University. His educational training is in the areas of biomedical and mechanical engineering and applied mathematics. Over the years, his lab has been engaged in basic scientific research that combine aspects of fluid dynamics, solid mechanics, and intravital microscopy to study the biomechanics of the inner ear and blood flow in the microcirculation. In addition to his basic science research, he has also committed himself to building a bionic pancreas for type 1 diabetes. Ever since his 17-year-old son, David, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 11 months of age, he has set his sights on creating and integrating blood-glucose control technologies with a vision of building a bihormonal (insulin and glucagon) bionic pancreas that David could take to college. He and his engineering team at BU began conducting experiments testing an early version of their bionic pancreas running on a laptop computer in diabetic swine in 2005 and then progressed with their clinical collaborators at the Massachusetts General Hospital through in-patient trials in adults and adolescents with T1D from 2008–2012. From 2013–2016, his team at BU and clinical collaborators conducted seven outpatient clinical trials in adults and children with type 1 diabetes testing a mobile version of their bionic pancreas, which ran on an iPhone. With $2.5MM in donations from over 1,000 gifts from the T1D community, his engineering team at BU along with their contract manufacturers, have recently built the first fully integrated biohormonal bionic pancreas that does not rely upon smartphone technology. They call their device the iLet, in homage to the pancreatic islets of Langerhans. They recently received FDA approval to begin clinical trials testing the iLet in the outpatient setting. Their goal is to begin clinical testing of the iLet in the middle of 2017 and to conduct the final pivotal trial testing the insulin-only configuration of the iLet in the first half of 2018. He recently co-founded Beta Bionics, Inc., a Massachusetts Public Benefit Corporation, for the purpose of commercializing the iLet for people living with type 1 diabetes.

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Courtney Duckworth is a professional cheerleader and has lived with type 1 diabetes for over 13 years. After diagnosis at the age of 10, Courtney went on to become a competitive figure skater, group fitness instructor, and marathon runner--even qualifying to run in the 2015 Boston Marathon. Academically, Courtney graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the College of William and Mary in 2015 and studied human metabolism as a clinical research fellow at the National Institutes of Health. In 2017, she applied to medical school with hopes of matriculating in the fall of 2018 to become a pediatric endocrinologist.


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Leigh Davis Fickling, MEd, MS, JD, is the Executive Director of the Disability Management System at Duke University. With over 19 years of experience in Higher Education Administration, Leigh has served in a variety of executive leadership roles including Dean of Students and Dean of Campus Life. Leigh's area of expertise is disability law and the implementation of reasonable accommodations in the classroom and the workplace. Leigh and her husband Jimmy are the proud parents to six year old twins, Ava and Davis. Ava was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of three in 2013. With Ava's diagnosis and the need for accommodations in elementary school, Leigh's work life and home life have merged.


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Brian Grant, BSN, RN, CDE, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2002. He loves working with people who have diabetes, and is looking forward to serving as faculty at the Friends for Life Falls Church 2017 conference. He currently resides in King of Prussia, PA, and works as a CDE at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia with a focus on diabetes technology.

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Jay Hewitt is an athlete, attorney and keynote speaker. He is the only person with type 1 diabetes to qualify for the U.S. National Long Distance Triathlon Team, racing three years for Team USA at the World Championships in Denmark, Sweden and Australia. He raced 14 ultra distance and Ironman triathlons - a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike race and 26.2-marathon mile run—140 miles in one day, all while injecting insulin and managing his blood sugar. At the same time, he balanced work and life practicing law and presenting appeals to state and federal courts around he country. Jay has been featured on the cover of Diabetes Health, Diabetes Forecast, and many other national publications, and profiled in television documentaries on CNBC, WGN and Lifetime TV. He speaks nationally to business groups and the public about health and wellness, overcoming obstacles and achieving goals, and is the author of the newly-released motivational book Finish Line Vision. He is married with three children and lives in Greenville, S.C.


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Marisa E. Hilliard, PhD, is clinical pediatric psychologist whose clinical care and research focuses on supporting the health and well-being of young people with type 1 diabetes and their families. Her work focuses on promoting resilience, specifically how youth and families overcome the challenges of diabetes to most effectively manage diabetes while maintaining good quality of life, and she studies strengths-based clinical approaches to support these outcomes. Dr. Hilliard is especially interested transitional times in diabetes management, such as the adjustment to new T1D diagnosis, how family diabetes management shifts between childhood and adolescence, and how teenagers prepare for life with diabetes as young adults. She also collaborates with professional and patient advocacy organizations to educate mental health providers about diabetes to improve access to behavioral and mental health support for people with diabetes. Dr. Hilliard joined the CWD faculty in 2014 and is currently an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, in the Psychology Section of Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, Texas.

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Aaron Kowalski, PhD, was appointed JDRF's first Chief Mission officer in December 2014 and serves as a key link between JDRF and the broad diabetes community. Dr. Kowalski combines his professional experience as a scientist with his personal experience of living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) for over 30 years to help guide and champion JDRF's programs focused on creating a world without T1D. Dr. Kowalski is an internationally recognized expert in the area of diabetes technologies and has been a leader of JDRF's Artificial Pancreas Research Project, a multi-million dollar initiative that began in 2005 to accelerate the progress toward automated insulin-delivery systems. He has authored numerous articles on T1D research and was a coauthor of the landmark study in The New England Journal of Medicine that revealed the effectiveness of continuous glucose monitors in T1D management. Dr. Kowalski has traveled and spoken globally about diabetes research progress, and is known for his ability to translate science into easily understandable concepts. Dr. Kowalski has presented at many national and international scientific conferences, including the American Diabetes Association Annual Scientific Sessions, and was the keynote speaker at the 2009 Diabetes Technology Society Meeting. He has been a voice for diabetes research in the popular media, appearing on The Martha Stewart Show, dLife, Fox Business, and NPR, among others. He is often quoted in the print media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and People magazine. Dr. Kowalski is a member of the JDRF PEAK Program's expert panel and often speaks about the importance of exercise and diet in better diabetes control. While living with T1D, he has completed 17 marathons. Online, he often tweets (@aaronjkowalski) about exercise and diabetes and how all people with T1D can live their lives without limits. He earned his doctorate in molecular genetics from Rutgers University.


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Maureen Monaghan, PhD, CDE, is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Health at Children’s National Health System and George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, DC. A licensed clinical psychologist and a certified diabetes educator, Dr. Monaghan has worked for over a decade providing behavioral health care as part of the Child and Adolescent Diabetes Program at Children’s National. Her clinical and research work focuses on helping youth with diabetes and their parents adjust and adapt to new settings and manage their daily medical regimen, while also promoting optimal quality of life. Dr. Monaghan is particularly in working with adolescents and young adults and their diabetes care providers to facilitate a smooth transition from pediatric to adult diabetes care.


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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 seven 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 Associate 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 Associate 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 25 years, and is mom to twins Courtney and Jessica (age 13). 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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Matthew Point, MS, is a higher education professional. He currently serves as the Director of Residence Life & Housing at Moore College of Art & Design in Center City, Philadelphia. Matt holds a Master's degree in Higher Education Administration & College Student Development. As part of his role on campus, he manages special accommodations for housing and dining plans for students with disabilities or dietary restriction and is responsible for all on-campus emergency management. Matt began attending CWD events two years ago to support his partner, who has type 1 diabetes. Matt's favorite parts of attending CWD events are getting to see all of the new technology, as well as reuniting with Type 1 and "Type 3" friends.

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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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Kerri Sparling has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1986, diagnosed at the age of seven. She manages her diabetes and lives her life by the mantra “Diabetes doesn’t define me, but it helps explain me.” Kerri is an internationally recognized diabetes advocate. She is the creator and author of Six Until Me, established in 2005 and remains one of the most widely-read diabetes patient blogs, reaching a global audience of patients, caregivers, and industry. She has been featured on NPR, US News and World Report, CBNC, Yahoo! Health, LA Times, The Lancet, Whole Living, Disney’s Family.com, and Family Circle, among other national outlets. In addition to her writing, Kerri is a highly-rated speaker and has presented the patient perspective to audiences around the world. She works to raise awareness for diabetes, patient advocacy, and the influence of social media on health outcomes. Her first book, Balancing Diabetes (Spry Publishing), looks at type 1 diabetes in the context of “real life.” Kerri and her husband live in Rhode Island, USA with their two children.

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Randi Streisand, PhD, CDE, is a clinical psychologist and certified diabetes educator and is Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington DC. She proudly works alongside talented multidisciplinary colleagues in the Diabetes Care Complex at Children’s National Medical Center. For more than 15 years, Dr. Streisand’s clinical and research efforts have focused on families living with T1D. Her program of research aims to promote adjustment and adherence in children with T1D. She has worked with young children through older teens, developing and evaluating behavioral interventions. Dr. Streisand’s current focus is on supporting parents of young children with T1D.


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Crystal Crismond Woodward is the Director of the American Diabetes Association (ADA)'s Safe at School initiative based at its Home Office in Alexandria, Virginia. 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 providing comprehensive coverage for students with diabetes in Virginia and has since worked tirelessly to pass Safe at School legislation in 30 states including the District of Columbia. Crystal is a contributor to many diabetes publications, is a member of the Virginia Diabetes Council and serves on a number of other diabetes and youth advisory boards and committees.

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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Rob Freund is a career EMS lieutenant/paramedic for the Baltimore County Fire Department. He has also been in the field of emergency medical care for almost 20 years as an ER nurse. He attended his first Friends for Life Orlando conference in 2012 and was greatly impressed with the educational programs offered. Rob is excited to join Dr. Ben's team and be a part of CWD.

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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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Kathryn Hitchcock, sister of Marissa (dx’d at 2 years old), is a candidate for a Master’s in Nutritional Science degree at the University of Cincinnati. She currently works as a teaching assistant in the food science lab training future dietitians. She spends her weekends at a charitable food pantry teaching the importance of healthy eating to community members. She is passionate about nutrition, especially related to diabetes. After she finishes her graduate program, she plans to become a registered dietitian and work with individuals with diabetes.


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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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Carolyn Meredith is mom to Chelsea, Jeremy, and Bailey and wife to Rich. Jeremy was diagnosed with diabetes in May 2000 at the age of six. He started on an insulin pump in October 2002. Carolyn and her family attended their first Friends for Life conference in 2003 and have been involved with CWD ever since. They have also attended several regional conferences. When not running mom's taxi service, Carolyn works in the office at an elementary school in St. Petersburg, Florida. She enjoys meeting and sharing with other CWD families.


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Rich Meredith is dad to Jeremy (dx'd 2000), Bailey, and Chelsea. He has been involved in CWD since the family attended their first conference in 2003. His day job is working in IT but on the side he makes "big bowls," hand thrown pottery pieces which have been found at diabetes and community art related fund raising auctions. Rich can often be found snapping photos at the conferences and now helps coordinate load in, load out, and the Exhibit Hall volunteer staff.


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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, 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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Ben Stroud, age 28, has been living with diabetes for 18 years, and has been pumping for over 10 years. Born in the northeast, and raised in the southeast and SoCal has given him an appreciation for the country and a hunger for travel. A graduate of the LA Film school, Ben has been working in the industry, making television commercials, short films, and working on television programs. Ben has been attending Friends for Life Orlando since 2002 and a volunteer for over seven years. Ben currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

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Chris Tull became involved with CWD shortly after his son's diagnosis in 2002. He has served as a Legislative Chair for his local JDRF chapter and has been involved with Teen Program and security matters for CWD since his first conference. His son, Trevor, moved through the CWD teen program and is now a successful adult managing his own diabetes. Chris credits CWD with helping his son and his family better manage and live with his diagnosis. Chris is a police sergeant in Virginia Beach and a former Marine.



  Friends for Life Falls Church 2017 Conference and Expo  
  Introduction - Registration - Sponsors  
  Faculty and Staff - Youth Staff  
  Program - Youth Program - Hotel Floor Plan - Exhibitor Application  



                 
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Last Updated: Monday August 07, 2017 13:20:15
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