Meet the Fellows

Diabetes Hands Foundation and Diabetes Advocates are excited to welcome our 2017 Cohort of Fellows for MasterLab Leadership Institute, an intensive weekend to advance leaders and their visions to improve life with diabetes.

We had an overwhelmingly positive application response: over 100 applicants, from over 13 countries. We assessed projects on the innovation in idea, proven time investment to develop a project plan, depth of impact, and future scalability. We desired a diverse group of projects representing service to a range of communities affected by both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Thank you to Lilly Diabetes, Novo Nordisk, and Merck for providing event sponsorships, andLilly Diabetes for providing Fellow scholarships, to enable their travel and attendance.

We welcome our 20 Fellows who are forward-thinking leaders working passionately to improve the lives of those touched by diabetes:

  • Alicia Olave-Pichonis a physician and an MPH candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is working on developing a family-based intervention program for Latinos with diabetes and pre-diabetes, using a community health workers model to promote self-efficacy in decision-making (Illinois).
  • Brian Cohen is developing the Emotional Bill of Rights for People with Diabetes, to change the communication between patients and healthcare providers to reduce associations of blame, stigma, and shame (Virginia).
  • Christel Oerum has grown a community at TheFitBlog to help people with diabetes exercise safely and effectively using social media peer support and group fitness challenges (California).
  • Daniela Rojas Jimenez is a psychologist that runs Diabetica Solutions and Education about Diabetes by People with Diabetes, providing diabetes education in schools and companies, and working with the Ministry of Health to take the program nation-wide (Costa Rica).
  • Dmitri Katz is a PhD student studying Human Computer Interaction (HCI) at Open University, researching the effectiveness of mobile technologies (like automated decision-making systems) to support diabetes self-management (Germany).
  • Heather Gabel is a PhD student in the disability studies program at University of Illinois, Chicago, and creating an access point for underrepresented populations to access the Diabetes Online Community while in clinic waiting rooms (Illinois).
  • Irene Scappin is a nutritionist and diabetes educator that created NutriYOU that offers companies complete educational, screening, and exercise programs to improve their employees health, as an entry point to whole-family understanding (Venezuela).
  • James Stout, a former PhD student and professional cycler, runs the Diabetes Community Empowerment Project, which delivers a peer-mentored, lifestyle goal program to the Pascua Yaqui Tribes in Arizona (California).
  • Kelsey Tullis from the Chris Dudley Foundation is piloting and scaling the Test Dont Guess outreach program, which provides diabetes testing kits to those living in homelessness or poverty (Oregon).
  • Mariana Bernal Andrade is a diabetes educator that is designing Mums Equilibrium to be a scalable model for a pre-, during, and post-pregnancy intervention for management of gestational diabetes, focusing on a time when women are most health-conscious (Mexico).
  • Marina Tsaplinais the founder of THE BETES which is developing The Invisible Elephant Project, a program which employs the performing arts to cross socioeconomic and cultural gaps and aims to ease the hidden burden of the thoughts and feelings surrounding diabetes complications for people with Type 1 and 2 diabetes.(New York).
  • Mike Davis, through DiaHive by 1six2, is developing a resource to assist H.R. departments in developing diabetes-directed initiatives for their employees (Illinois).
  • Mutima Jackson-Anderson is the founder of the Ruby A. Neeson Diabetes Awareness Foundation, and piloting a community outreach program to reduce foot complications within the Diabetes Belt (Georgia).
  • Paige Wagner, of Joslin Diabetes Center Diversity Initiatives, seeks to build a clinical initiative for African American communities to address disparities, following successful initiatives for Asian Americans and Latinos (Massachusetts)
  • Patrick Mertes is building a non-profit, Limitless Expeditions to help teens and young adults with type 1 diabetes push past perceived limitations through guided backcountry wilderness programs (California).
  • Riley Adamson is the founder of CheckUp, a rapidly-growing startup which provides follow-up call software for healthcare providers, to allow registered nurses to check on patients post-acute care (Utah).
  • Sarah Mart works at Diabetes Sisters to expand their Minority Initiative across the country, providing an in-person education programs for women of color living with diabetes or pre-diabetes (Colorado).
  • Shailja Mathur is developing the South East Asian Diabetes Program in collaboration with Rutgers Medical School, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and New Jersey Department of Health Office of Minority and Multicultural Health (New Jersey).
  • Sophie Thacher is a web developer and former MedX e-patientbuilding an application, Reach Your Health Potential, to help people with diabetes to take an active role in testing, refining, and recording personalized insulin regimens (Washington).
  • Tom Hardiman is a Podiatrist and Medical Director of M3that has dedicated his profession to lower extremity amputation prevention; he developed Fit2Walk, a screening kit to detect severeneuropathy in people with diabetes (Massachusetts).

We look forward to an innovative, inspiring weekend. Our successful mentors from the business, VC and non-profit worlds will lead a series of hands-on workshops. Fellows will learn how to refine their organizational model, use the lean startup method, sharpen their leadership toolkit, find sustainable funding, and increase their social impact.