Conference Faculty

Linda Anne DiMeglio, MD, MPH, is a Professor of Pediatrics and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetology at Riley Hospital/Indiana University. She is Vice Chair of Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet and co-PI of the national DiabDocs physician scientist training program. Dr. DiMeglio is a clinical trialist with funding from the NIH, JDRF, and Helmsley Charitable Trust. Her team studies prevention of T1D, beta cell preservation, and ways to improve care for persons living with T1D through new medications and devices. She has been the medical director of the Indiana ADA Diabetes Camp since 1998. She also cares for children living with bone diseases. She loves to travel, cycle, and spend time with her husband and three sons.

Leigh Fickling, JD, MEd, MS, serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Children with Diabetes. Leigh is responsible for the day-to-day operational leadership of the organization and for the oversight and implementation of the organization's strategic plan. Leigh's daughter, Ava, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2013 at the age of three. Leigh is a subject matter expert in the implementation of accommodations for people with diabetes in the classroom, workplace, and beyond. The Friends for Life conferences are the highlight of the year for the Fickling family and they can't imagine trying to dia-beat-this without their circle of friends.

Kajal Gandhi, DO, MPH, is an assistant professor of pediatrics and pediatric endocrinology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital/The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. She is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric endocrinology, and completed her training in pediatric endocrinology from Texas Children’s Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine. Her primary research interests include medical education, improving diabetes care and outcomes through quality improvement programs, as well as investigating ethnic/racial disparities in type 1 diabetes, ultimately to create a culturally sensitive diabetes education curriculum for medical providers and patients/families. She is co-medical director of the Diabetes and School Health (DASH) program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and participates in the national T1D Exchange Quality Improvement Collaborative.

Nadine Haddad, MD, is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the section of Endocrinology and Diabetology at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health in Indianapolis. Dr. Haddad completed her fellowship in Pediatric Endocrinology in 2003 and has been in practice at Riley Hospital since. She has had more than 20 years of experience taking care of children with diabetes, and has participated in various educational activities related to diabetes, helped at diabetes summer camps, and has run the high risk diabetes clinic.

Jeff Hitchcock is the founder, president, and Chief Executive Officer 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. In September of 1989, their first child was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of two. Jeff worked in defense related industries until 1995, when he started a small internet company and launched Children with Diabetes to share his family's experience caring for a child with T1D. Jeff also serves on the Board of Directors for the Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition (DPAC). Jeff received the 2021 ISPAD Hero Award for his work on Children with Diabetes.

George Huntley is a founding member of the Diabetes Leadership Council (501c3) and currently serves as CEO of both the DLC and its affiliate, the Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition (501c4). He has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1983 and has three other family members also living with T1D. A passionate advocate for people with diabetes, George is a past National Chair of the Board of the American Diabetes Association and currently serves as Treasurer of Children with Diabetes. A former CPA, George spent his business career as CFO of Theoris Group, Inc., United Pentek, Inc. and MicroProse Games, Inc. In his corporate roles, he was the plan administrator of self-insured, employer-based health plans for more than 25 years. He learned firsthand the impact of chronic disease management on his company’s bottom line and the importance of strategic health plan design decisions to manage cost, reduce overall risk and improve health outcomes. George is also a highly rated and frequent speaker on the topic of health plan design and drug pricing.

R. Stewart Perry grew up in Lexington, Kentucky. Since 1983 he has been the co-owner of Perry & Perry State Farm Insurance, one of the largest State Farm Insurance agencies in the state of Kentucky and is a Diabetes Consultant and Advocate. Stewart’s family has been dramatically affected by diabetes. His son had type 1 diabetes, both parents, and sister have all had diabetes during their lifetime. He has lost a son, uncle, grandfather and great grandmother to complications of diabetes. Stewart was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1990. Since that time, he has been actively involved in Diabetes issues and groups. . Stewart was the Chairman of the National Board of Directors and the Chair of the National Advocacy Committee for five years at the American Diabetes Association. Stewart is a member of the Kentucky Diabetes Network and a founding member of the Fayette County Diabetes Collation. Stewart was appointed by two different Governors of Kentucky to the GET FIT KY Board and The Diabetes Research Trust Fund Board. Stewart is one of the founders of the Diabetes Leadership Council and currently serves as Chairman of that organization where he has been instrumental in passing Diabetes Action Plan legislation in 28 states. He is currently the Vice-Chair of the Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition and served as interim CEO for three months. He is a very well know speaker in diabetes circles on advocacy related topics. Stewart serves on the board of Children with Diabetes.

Matthew Point, MS, is CWD's Director of Advancement and Programs. In this role, he manages corporate sponsorships, fundraising efforts, and the coordination of CWD's events, such as our renowned Friends for Life conferences. Matt's journey with CWD began in 2013 when he attended his first event, Friends for Life Orlando.

Samantha Redden was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1997. She is a Master Instructor for Cyclebar, the largest indoor cycling franchise in the world. She graduated with a degree in Mass Communication from Wright State University and briefly worked as the Development Manager for JDRF in Dayton, OH before she began her career in fitness. Samantha is active on social media sharing her story of living with T1D and working in the fitness industry. In 2019 she was awarded the title of “Diabetes Female Fitness Influencer of the Year” at the Myabetic Diabetes Awards. When she’s not connecting online or riding the bike, Samantha enjoys spending time with her husband and five-year-old daughter Gracie.

Cherise Shockley was diagnosed with LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in adults) June 2004. She is the founder of Diabetes Social Media Advocacy (#dsma), creator of the Blue Fridays initiative and WOCDiabetes (Women of Color living with Diabetes). Cherise is a subject matter expert in diabetes social media, online communities, and peer support. She is a wife, mother, and veteran.

Laura Smith, PhD, CDCES, is a professor of pediatrics, a pediatric psychologist, and certified diabetes educator at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Smith provides clinical care and conducts research in the area of pediatric type 1 diabetes. Her research focuses on disordered eating and type 1 diabetes, how family interactions impact diabetes management, and the psychological impact of being genetically at-risk for type 1 diabetes. Dr. Smith has published research articles in these areas and speaks on these topics to various groups of healthcare providers, researchers, and patients. She also provides clinical services to individuals living with type 1 diabetes and their families. Dr. Smith's work is guided by her own experience: she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 20 years ago and believes that having diabetes can be challenging but is manageable with education, a positive outlook, and a good support network.


Indicates faculty member with diabetes