Conference Faculty

Noor Alramahi was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of six and is the proud mother of 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 eleven years and counting!

Kyle Banks is an actor, vocalist and all around music enthusiast. Having logged stage time professionally on and off Broadway, Kyle has also aided behind the scenes as a music business development and strategy consultant for Sony Music Entertainment, Wynn Las Vegas and Hard Rock gaming casinos. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2015 while performing with Disney’s musical production of The Lion King, Kyle began working closely with the endocrinology team at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, where he serves as a mentor for a host of kids receiving care. Through his connection with Children’s Hospital, he discovered the many challenges that plague individuals from disadvantage communities as it relates to glucose management. Inspired by his personal success with the latest technology available for diabetic management, Kyle founded the KyleR Cares Foundation, which raises funds for insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors for kids who do not have access to these life-saving devices. Their goal is to assist as many individuals and families as possible toward the road of health and wellness.

Allison Bayer, PhD, is Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Diabetes Research Institute, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Her research focuses on understanding the basic immunobiology of regulatory T cells (Tregs) – immune cells that prevent the “attack cells” from destroying a person’s own tissues. Dr. Bayer is exploring novel therapies to prevent the rejection of transplanted insulin-producing cells – and to do so with less toxic, immunosuppressive drugs. She hopes that her work will help lead to the ultimate goal of achieving both self-tolerance and transplantation tolerance for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. At her special Friends for Life presentation, you will learn more about Dr. Bayer’s new clinical trial with a drug already approved by the FDA for treatment of multiple sclerosis that has shown remarkable promise to prevent and reverse diabetes. Don’t miss it!

Edward Damiano, PhD, is Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University (BU) and President & CEO of Beta Bionics. Over the years, his lab at BU has been engaged in basic scientific research that combines 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 been committed to building a bionic pancreas for automatically controlling blood sugar levels in people with T1D. Ever since his 22-year-old son, David, was diagnosed with T1D in infancy, he has set his sights on creating a bihormonal (insulin and glucagon) bionic pancreas by building and integrating autonomous, intelligent systems into a purpose-built, wearable medical device. He and his engineering team at BU began conducting experiments testing an early prototype of their bionic pancreas running on a laptop computer in animal studies in 2005 and then progressed with clinical collaborators at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) through in-patient clinical trials in adults and adolescents with T1D from 2008–2012. From 2013–2019, he and his team at BU, along with clinical collaborators at MGH and other academic research centers across the US, conducted over a dozen home-use clinical trials in adults and children with diabetes. With support from the T1D community, he and his engineering team at BU began building the first purpose-built, fully integrated, bihormonal bionic pancreas that did not rely upon third-party smartphone technology. They called their device the iLet bionic pancreas. By the end of 2015, the iLet and associated technology was licensed to Beta Bionics, Inc., a Massachusetts Public Benefit Corporation committed to commercializing the iLet. Three home-use clinical trials testing the iLet were conducted in 2018 and 2019. Through a collaborative effort between Damiano’s lab at BU, 18 clinical research centers across the US, and the Jaeb Center for Health Research, a 13-week pivotal clinical trial is underway that is testing the commercial version of the iLet in 440 adults and children with T1D. The goal is to use the clinical data from this pivotal trial to support a market application for the iLet to the US Food and Drug Administration.

Cynthia M. Deitle, JD, LLM, is the Director, Associate General Counsel for the Civil Rights team at Facebook. Prior to joining Facebook in 2021, Deitle was the Director of Civil Rights at the Matthew Shepard Foundation, a LGBTQ+ advocacy non-profit organization for four years. Deitle served as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1995 - 2017. During her career with the FBI, she focused her efforts on investigating violations of federal civil rights laws including police brutality and misconduct, hate crimes, and human trafficking. Ms. Deitle earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from The Ohio State University, her Juris Doctor degree from New England Law Boston, and a Master of Laws degree from both the George Washington University National Law Center and the New York University School of Law. She is an attorney licensed to practice law in Tennessee, Florida, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia and is an Adjunct Professor at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN. Ms. Deitle was featured in a 2011 episode of 60 Minutes dealing with an unsolved Civil Rights Cold Case, and she appeared in the first season of Investigation Discovery's series, The Injustice Files. After her two year old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2013, Ms. Deitle and her wife attended their first Children With Diabetes Friends for Life conference in Orlando. "The conference saved us. We found a community who embraced our family and not only gave us information about Type 1 diabetes and how to better manage the disease, but gave us the confidence that one day there will indeed be a cure. Until that day comes, we have Friends for Life." Ms. Deitle joined the staff and faculty of FFL in 2017 to share her family's journey and address the legal needs of young adults with Type 1 diabetes. Deitle and her family live in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Phyllisa Deroze, PhD, is a global diabetes patient advocate. She began blogging at DiagnosedNOTdefeated.com almost immediately after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2011. Last summer, however, she learned that she has type 1 diabetes and spent the past eight years misdiagnosed. In addition to her blog, she founded Black Diabetic Info; a website dedicated to increasing cultural-competent diabetes information. Phyllisa has graced the cover of Health Monitor magazine and been featured in Diabetic Living, Diabetes Focus, and others magazines and newsletters. Her passion for diabetes lifestyle advocacy can be seen in her YouTube vlogs, social media posts, in-person workshops, published essays, and keynote speeches that she has given in five countries. Her motto "Diagnosed Not Defeated," is an inspiration for anyone diagnosed with diabetes and takes on new meaning for her after being diagnosed with diabetes twice.

Liz Dodson became a part of the CWD family in 2008 when she started dating her husband Jimmy, who has type 1. She spent several years volunteering in and coordinating Sports Central with Jimmy. Like all FFLs, CWD has given her a diabetes family -- a group of people who understand the unique dynamics of a spousal relationship that includes type 1. Her goal in being involved with CWD is to allow everyone impacted with type 1 to find their FFLs and build their own diabetes family. Her "day job" is in the world of corporate meeting planning, and she is excited to use these skills for CWD as the Conference Logistics Manager.

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.

Dr. James Greening, MBBS, MRCPCH, is the lead Children’s diabetes consultant at Leicester Royal Infirmary in the UK. He is also the clinical lead for research for the Children’s hospital in Leicester. He has looked after children with diabetes for 22 years working with colleagues. He trained at Great Ormond Street Hospital London and is now leading the academic and clinical unit at Leicester Royal Infirmary. It is a large unit and is very research active. It is from this standpoint that he and his team have developed the Deapp education program, combining their understanding of diabetes from both an academic and clinical point of view. James has lead the Deapp program over the last five years from its inception to now its successful launch in the UK, co-founding HEAL.med. He and his team are now excited to bring Deapp to the Friends for Life conference to share our experience.

George Grunberger, MD, FACP, MACE, is the chairman of Grunberger Diabetes Institute in Bloomfield Hills, MI. He is a Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular Medicine & Genetics at Wayne State University, Professor of Internal Medicine at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and Visiting Professor at First Faculty of Medicine at Charles University in Prague (Czech Republic). He is Past President of American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. He has published over 180 peer-reviewed manuscripts on subjects related to diabetes and its complications, molecular underpinning of insulin action and insulin resistance and clinical research studies on many aspects of diabetes and its management.

Irl B. Hirsch, MD, is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he has worked since 1990. The majority of his patients have type 1 diabetes, and most of his research involves clinical aspects of type 1 diabetes including new insulins, new technologies, skin challenges from long-term pump use, how type 2 drugs may slow diabetic kidney disease, appropriate inpatient glucose targets, and understanding the limitations of HbA1c.

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 17 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.

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.

Marie Jarcho lives in Connecticut with her husband David and son Max (dx'd 2010, now in college). At their first FFL conference nine years ago, they saw immediately how impactful all the support they found there would be to living well with type 1 and the family has been helping out ever since. Marie is the coordinator of the Buddy Program for First Timers, is on the First Timer's Orientation Team and helps out at Registration welcoming FFL attendees. Back at home she works in Logistics for a battery/energy storage company.

Jeff Karitis, CFP®, CEPA®, is a Wealth Managment Advisor based in New York City, were he and his group have been providing wealth management strategies for a select group of business owners, executives and families since 1999. He holds the CFP® (CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional) and CEPA (Certified Exit Planning Advisor) designations. Jeff resides in New York's Hudson Valley with his family and retired racing greyhounds. Previously, he served as Co-President of his local JDRF Chapter and on the Executive Board of the Great NYC Chapter. His daughter was diagnosed with T1D in 2014 and their family have been attending Friends for Life Orlando since 2016. Jeff has been volunteering since 2021 as co-lead of the DoFFLs group.

Rayhan Lal, PhD, MD, MPH, is pediatric and adult endocrine faculty at Stanford. Rayhan grew up in the California bay area and always wanted to be an engineer. He has had type 1 diabetes for over 30 years. He studied electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. His two younger sisters were enrolled in DPT-1, were found to be antibody positive, and developed type 1 diabetes. In an effort to help all his brothers and sisters with diabetes, Rayhan decided to switch career paths and pursue clinical medicine at the University of California, Davis. Rayhan could not decide whether to take care of children or adults with diabetes and so did both. He completed a four year residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Southern California, working with the underserved at Los Angeles County Hospital. Rayhan then completed an adult and pediatric endocrine fellowship at Stanford. As an engineer and physician-scientist with diabetes, his primary research interest is the design, development, and testing of new diabetes technology and therapies with his mentor, Dr. Bruce Buckingham. Rayhan collaborates with many members of the Stanford Diabetes Research Center, industry and the open source diabetes community in an effort to bypass the biological, technological and human factor limitations of existing devices.

Lauren Lanning

Lauren Lanning is the very proud mom of Monica, dx 8/96, a recent PA graduate, and Sarah, an engineer. Lauren became involved with CWD shortly after Monica was diagnosed in 1996. She has been involved in the conferences since the very first gathering in Orlando in 2000, where she volunteered to make name badges. Since then, Lauren has run Registration and then the Elementary program. This year, Lauren is excited to continue as leader of the MOFFLs and First Timers. She lives in Colorado and loves traveling, riding her bicycle and volunteering as a JDRF Ride coach.

Sarah Lockwood-Lee is a Co-founder of HEAL.med and its Head of Operations and Education. Sarah has worked for the Children’s hospital in Leicester for 24 years and works as a Deapp project Officer. She has been working closely with children, young adults and their families helping to deliver diabetes education in a fun and exciting way. She has been instrumental in the development of Deapp (diabetes education application) games and resources, providing training to health care professionals across the UK on the delivery of Deapp. Sarah is also the founder of the children’s diabetes choir, the Highs & Lows. She has been running this for children who have or live with someone who has type 1 diabetes in her own time for the past eight years. In 2019 Sarah was awarded a Caring at its best award from the University Hospital of Leicester as well as winning the QIC (Quality in Care) award for Outstanding Educator in Diabetes.

Benny Loebner Benny Loebner is married to Pam (First Timers Team) and the proud father of Sarah (dx’d 6/2002), who is a Physician Assistant at the University of Washington Diabetes Institute. He is also dad to Keith, who earned his Ph.D. at Stanford University in 2017, got married a few weeks later to Ellen, and just celebrated his son Jonah’s first birthday. The family attended their first CWD Friends for Life conference one month after Sarah was diagnosed, and they have been volunteering in various capacities ever since. Benny, an environmental geologist living in Los Altos, California, enjoys most sports and coaches and referees for the American Youth Soccer Organization. He is looking forward to meeting and greeting everyone.

Maureen Monaghan, PhD, CDCES, is a licensed clinical psychologist affiliated with Children’s National Hospital and an adjunct Associate Professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, DC. She also works at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Monaghan has worked for over 15 years providing behavioral health care for youth with diabetes. Her clinical and research work focuses on helping youth with diabetes and their parents adjust and adapt to new settings and manage their daily routines, while also promoting optimal quality of life. Dr. Monaghan is particularly interested in supporting adolescents and young adults and their diabetes care clinicians to facilitate a smooth transition from pediatric to adult diabetes care.

Diana M. Naranjo, PhD, is a 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 adolescents 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.

Lee Paxman-Clarke is a Senior Research Fellow at De Montfort University, with a background in design, product development, and higher education teaching. Lee gained a 1st class degree in BA Product Design at De Montfort University and also studied internationally at the Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG) Schwäbisch Gmünd in Germany. Upon graduation he won the prestigious Royal Society of Arts Student Design Awards, additionally picking up the Petainer Award and was a winner in the ET Foundation Aluminum Extrusion Competition. The Design Council named Lee in a list of "Up and Coming" British designers as 'Ones to Watch' for the future. Lee co-founded HEAL.med CIC, a not-for-profit organization, with Sarah Lockwood-Lee and James Greening after working side-by-side with the team and helping to put the fun back into teaching with the Diabetes Education App.

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.

Liz Robinson, MSPA-C, CDCES, is a physician assistant and diabetes educator with over 20 years of clinical experience in the field of women's health. She has spent the majority of her career focusing on type 1 diabetes in pregnancy. She is currently serving as the Medical Safety Officer for LifeScan. Liz's interest in type 1 diabetes began when she met her husband, who was diagnosed as a teen, and was further fueled when her daughter was diagnosed at the age of four. Liz and her family have been attending Friends for Life conferences since 2013 and cannot imagine a summer without their "Fiffles".

Kenny Rodenheiser, BSN, RN, CDCES, was diagnosed in April 2003 and has been part of the CWD family since 2004. He currently serves as a member of CWD's Board of Directors and leads TeamCWD. After many years of volunteering with various diabetes organizations, he realized his passion was to educate, motivate, and advocate for all people with diabetes. He earned his Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Ramapo College of New Jersey and shortly after earned his credentials as a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist.

Henry Rodriguez, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist who has focused on the prevention and management of type 1 diabetes (T1D), has been a FFL faculty member for 10-years. He has been a lead investigator in national and international T1D studies including the NIH-funded DPT-1, TrialNet, EDIC, and the Helmsley Trust-funded T1D Exchange, and studies on beta-cell preservation in type 1 diabetes and expanding the number of FDA-approved medications for children with T1D and T2D. He serves on the ADA Scientific Oversight, National Advocacy. and Legal Advocacy Committees, the Safe at School, and Membership Advisory Working Groups, and he is President of the local ADA Community Leadership Board. He is also a long-standing supporter on diabetes camps.

Janet Rodriguez, RN, CDCES, CRA, a longstanding FFL faculty member, is an experienced nurse, educator, and research coordinator with nearly one decade of expertise in diabetes technologies. Janet became a registered nurse in 1986. Initially concentrating in pediatric critical care, she migrated to nursing quality assurance, prior to dedicating herself to diabetes. Her passion is empowering people of all ages living with diabetes. She specializes in diabetes technologies and leads the Diabetes Technology Clinical and Clinical Research Programs at the University of South Florida Diabetes and Endocrinology Center in Tampa. She is a proud member of the ADA’s Safe at School Working Group and long-time diabetes camp nurse.

Nicole M. Rosenke, PharmD, is an experienced pharmacist who received her PharmD in 2006 from the University of Florida. She holds a Bachelors in Micro and Molecular Biology from University of Central Florida. She has worked in leadership, patient centric, and operational roles across industry and chronic care management. She is currently working as a Medical Science Liaison at Abbott Diabetes Care, where she is invigorated to bring CGM to life for both traditional and non-traditional health care professionals who can educate the masses. She enjoys traveling with her husband of 20 years and her two children, Sadie and Matthew.

Desmond Schatz, MD, is Professor and Associate Chairman of Pediatrics, Medical Director of the Diabetes Center and Director of the GCRC at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He has been involved in type 1 diabetes research since the mid 80s and has published over 200 manuscripts, the majority related to the prediction, natural history, genetics, immunopathogenesis and prevention of the disease, as well as the management of children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes. He is the Principal Investigator (PI) on several JDRF and NIH awards. He is PI on JDRF funded studies aimed at reversing Type 1 diabetes using autologous stem cells (cord blood) and is currently PI the of the University of Florida Clinical Center participating in the NIH-funded TrialNet. He serves as co-PI on a Program Project Grant looking at the immunopathogenesis of Type 1 diabetes, and also serves as co-PI for the NIH-funded international newborn genetic screening (TEDDY) program in North Central Florida. Dr.Schatz has served in numerous capacities for the American Diabetes Association and on study sections and site visits for the JDRF and NIH. He also serves on the external advisory board for the NIH- and CDC-funded SEARCH study and the TODAY study in youth with type 2 diabetes and on the JDRF-funded Australian INIT II studies. He was awarded the Mary Tyler Moore and S Robert Levine JDRF Excellence in Clinical Research Award together with his colleagues, Mark Atkinson and Mike Haller as well as the 2009 Cure Award from the American Diabetes Association.

Gary Scheiner, MS, CDCES, 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.

Eleni Sheehan, ARNP, FNP-BC, CDCES, has been caring for patients with diabetes in the UF Health endocrinology outpatient clinics for more than six years, in both the pediatric and adult endocrinology divisions. She previously served as research coordinator for the T1D Exchange, the Pediatric Diabetes Consortium, and TEDDY studies. She received her MS in Nursing degree from UF, her BS in Nursing from UF, and holds a Master of Arts degree in communication from the University of South Florida. Eleni left a successful career in marketing and development to pursue her passion: caring for people with diabetes. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was nine years old, Eleni brings a uniquely compassionate perspective to patient care. She has served on the JDRF North Florida board of directors, volunteer advisor to the UF Students with Diabetes, and volunteer RN for the Florida Diabetes Camp.

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.

Stacey Simms is the host of the award-winning podcast Diabetes Connections and was named one of Diabetes Forecast Magazine's "People to Know: 2017." Stacey's son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2006, one month before he turned two, and Stacey started blogging about her family's experience with T1D a few week later. For more than a decade, she hosted Charlotte’s Morning News on WBT-AM, the city’s top-rated morning radio news show. Stacey's been named to the Charlotte Business Journal’s Forty under 40 and as one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Mecklenburg County by the Mecklenburg Times.

Laura Smith, PhD, CDE, 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.

Ben Szirth, PhD, is the Director of Applied Vision Research Laboratory at the New Jersey Medical School and the Program Director of the Ophthalmic Telemedicine Program, a community base outreach service addressing the homeless and low income families of New Jersey. His main research interest is in advanced imaging devices that can detect early signs of diabetes, glaucoma and age related macular degeneration. He holds three patents in the field of ophthalmology and has published over 50 peer review papers in the area of ocular imaging in English, Japanese, Spanish and French. Dr. Szirth has lectured in over 25 Countries in Hungarian (native language), English, French, Italian and Japanese.

Heather R. Walker, PhD, is a social scientist at the University of Utah Health. She earned her PhD in Disability Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies to unpack social and political underpinnings of diabetes in the United States. Walker’s research of diabetes has been featured in journals such as Qualitative Health Research, the Journal of Medical Internet Research Diabetes (JMIR Diabetes), Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology (JDST), The Diabetes Educator, and The Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists Perspectives in Practice Journal. She is the co-editor of a collected volume of essays examining representation of diabetes in cultural, social, and political settings that will be published in Fall 2021.


Indicates faculty member with diabetes