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  Back to Philadelphia 2012 Conference Philadelphia 2012 Faculty and Staff

Conference Faculty

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Dr. Henry Anhalt, Chief Medical Officer and Medical Director of the Artificial Pancreas Program for Animas Corporation, is responsible for the company’s medical and clinical activities. His current area of focus is on the joint JDRF-Animas artificial pancreas project. This important partnership with the JDRF will lead to the development and commercialization of the first generation artificial pancreas. With more than 20 years of clinical practice experience, he provides key insights into product development. He continues to maintain a clinical practice in New Jersey. Dr. Anhalt has authored numerous textbook chapters and research papers on various topics in pediatric endocrinology. He is a member of numerous professional organizations and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians and a Fellow of the American College of Endocrinology. He holds office in a number of national and international professional societies and currently chairs the Endocrine Society's Advocacy and Public Outreach Core Committee. In keeping with his passion for children with diabetes Dr. Anhalt is Medical Director and trustee of camp Nejeda, a diabetes camp for children in Stillwater, NJ. His international reputation has resulted in him being listed in the "Marquis Who & Who in Medicine", the Castle Connolly Guide to “The Best Doctors in The New York Metropolitan Area,” and for the past twelve years the New York Magazine's “Best Doctors Issue.” Dr. Anhalt is the 2004 recipient of the Aventis Best Practice Diabetes Award and also the recipient of the 2007 Sanofi-Aventis Fighting the Metabolic Syndrome Award. He is a sought after speaker and is often quoted in the media. He lectures widely both in the United States and internationally. He lives with his wife and three children in Northern New Jersey.

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

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Jeff Hitchcock is the creator, editor, webmaster and president of Children with Diabetes. After earning a degree in computational mathematics in 1981, Jeff worked in high tech and traveled the world, meeting Brenda, who would become his wife, in Africa. He worked in defense related industries until 1995, when he started a small Internet company and launched Children with Diabetes. He subsequently worked at LEXIS-NEXIS and Pearson plc on Internet initiatives, and now works full time bringing Children with Diabetes to you.

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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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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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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 daughter's Nicole and Andrea.

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A former National Aerobic Champion, Harold Sanco was voted Washington, DC's "Best Instructor" by both Washingtonian Magazine and the Washington Post. With more than 20 years of experience in youth Physical Education and fitness, Harold is an internationally acclaimed instructor and trainer who has traveled and taught across the United States, Canada and 15 other countries for some of the top fitness conferences in the world. His popular "Urban Funk" fitness class has been featured in People, Allure and W magazines. In addition to providing professional training services he is the Director of Group Fitness for Results Gym, an award-winning facility in Washington, DC. At CWD conferences, Harold motivates and encourages kids and adults to keep moving, have fun exercising in a positive way.

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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.

Teen Faculty

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

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Marissa Hitchcock, 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 kids and teens at CWD's conferences.

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

Tween Faculty

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Carolyn Billetdeaux graduated from NYU with a degree in international business and Spanish and currently works as a sustainability consultant. She is older sister to Sam, who has had diabetes for over 13 years. Carolyn presents type 1 diabetes as a family disease: it affects everyone. She was a founding member of IDYA and founded the Supplies branch of the Children with Diabetes Foundation in 2003. She loves traveling and meeting other CWD families.

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Kenny Rodenheiser, 21, will earn his Bachelors in Nursing from Ramapo College of New Jersey this spring, 2012. Kenny would eventually like to become a CDE. Kenny was diagnosed with diabetes in 2003 and has continued to be as energetic as before he was diagnosed. He has been an active part of the CWD community for eight years, and looks forward to helping others enjoy similar conference experiences. Kenny enjoys sports, especially soccer, volleyball, and hockey.


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Adam Town, BSN, RN, graduated from the University of Cincinnati's nursing program in 2009. Adam enjoys working with all children and is interested in pediatric nursing. He lives and works in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. Adam enjoys sports of all kinds with a particular interest in baseball. Adam's fiance has had type 1 diabetes for over 22 years.

Elementary Faculty

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


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Kristen Della Sala has been living with type 1 diabetes since July 8, 2009 and has been attending the CWD conferences since 2007 when her older brother was diagnosed. Now she is a Freshman Nutrition Major at Rutgers University where she intends to become a Registered Dietitian and eventually a Certified Diabetes Educator. Transitioning from attending the conferences in the beginning as a sibling and then as a diabetic herself, she is excited to make the transition once more into becoming a staff member.


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Ralph Della Sala is a student at Ramapo College of New Jersey. Ralph was diagnosed four years ago and attended his first conference just two weeks after diagnosis. His sister, Kristen, was also diagnosed with type 1 diabetes two years ago. Ralph is grateful for the opportunity to give back to CWD and is thankful for everything CWD has done for him.


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Maryam Elarbi was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of 10 in 2003 and began attending CWD conferences in 2004. Now age 18 and a freshman at Bryn Mawr College, Maryam enjoys reading (especially Jane Austen and Kurt Vonnegut), writing, blogging for Diabetes Self-Management, and competing with her three brothers in the new Dance Central 2 game on Kinect. One of her favorite CWD memories includes listening to Jay Hewitt speak with all of her friends and waiting for the moment they all say, “How bad do you want it?” together with Jay. Favorite memories also include watching Joe Solowiejczyk being honored for living with type 1 diabetes for 50 years, and meeting Louis and his family from Australia for the first time.

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Lauren Lanning, mom of Monica, 18, dx 8/96, pumping 5/99, CGM 9/05, and Sarah, 15 ... 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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Sarah Melendez, BSN, RN, graduated from West Chester University's nursing program in August 2010. After her son Brady was diagnosed in 2004, she decided to pursue a career in nursing, with a future focus in pediatric endocrinology. In 2005, Sarah and Brady attended their first CWD conference and it has become an integral part of their lives every year. Currently, Sarah lives outside of Philadelphia and works as an Orthopaedic RN at Northeast Orthopaedic's Muscle, Bone and Joint Center in Philadelphia.

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Jesse Nagel, 20, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 9 1/2 years old. He is a junior at the State University of NY at Buffalo with a major in nursing. Jesse is a member of the crew team and is a senator for the Resident Hall Association. He has traveled to Washington, DC as an advocate with the JDRF Children's Congress and the ADA Call to Congress, and will continue meeting with his representatives until a cure is found. He has attended every FFL Orlando since 2003 as part of the elementary, tween, and teen groups. Jesse is very excited to officially become part of the FFL staff.


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

Childcare

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Mary Babin, RN, BSN, CDE is one of the first clinical employees at Animas Corporation and the first coordinator of childcare for the little ones at the CWD conferences. Mary leads a team of certified diabetes educators providing childcare in a safe environment for kids under age six with and without diabetes. Providing this service alleviates the concerns of many parents of kids with diabetes – allowing them to attend the sessions with peace of mind knowing that their children are cared for by skilled professionals. This supports Mary's belief that education is the key to successful blood glucose management. As National Director of Clinical Services at Animas Corporation, she is responsible for overseeing diabetes and pump educators throughout the US. Mary has devoted her career to the world of medicine. As a graduate of Eastern University and Presbyterian School of Nursing, Mary has been in intensive care nursing for over 25 years and a Certified Diabetes Educator for 15. This busy mom and devoted professional has been involved with CWD since 2001. You can spot her at the conferences-she’s the one with the trail of kids behind her!

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Intissar Ben Halim, 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 three teens. Intissar loves her work as a clinical social worker at a nonprofit agency in West Chester, Pennsylvania. She and her family reside in King-of-Prussia.

CWD Staff

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Jeff Hitchcock is the creator, editor, webmaster and president of Children with Diabetes. After earning a degree in computational mathematics in 1981, Jeff worked in high tech and traveled the world, meeting Brenda, who would become his wife, in Africa. He worked in defense related industries until 1995, when he started a small Internet company and launched Children with Diabetes. He subsequently worked at LEXIS-NEXIS and Pearson plc on Internet initiatives, and now works full time bringing Children with Diabetes to you.

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

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Mike Schurig, MS, RD, LD, CDE, serves as Conferences and Content Manager for Children With Diabetes. As a diabetes educator, registered dietitian and person with type 1 diabetes since the age of 12, Mike has had extensive experience in diabetes education with kids and parents. Mike is active with local ADA activities, regional diabetes educator groups, and the CWD website. His interests are insulin pump education and technical advances in diabetes. Mike enjoys visiting the nearby theme parks and enjoying Central Florida.

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Julia Mattingly is mom to 16 year old Hannah and 14 year old Ethan, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 10 months and started pumping when he was 3. 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 CWD 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.



Philadelphia 2012: Focus on Technology
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Last Updated: Monday January 30, 2012 11:33:48
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