Diabetes Center of Excellence Leadership Council
Serving as ambassadors and champions of the UF Health Diabetes Center of Excellence, these appointed members help to craft the vision, mission and goals of the center. Serving as goodwill ambassadors, they make generous commitments in their time and expertise, and continue to innovate in the field of diabetes through research, education, and advocacy.
*Fellow Leadership Council Members, Fitz Koehler and Corey Brewer discuss their connection to diabetes. View here.
2012 – 2014 Members:
Dr. Atkinson is currently an Eminent Scholar for Diabetes Research at The University of Florida and is the co-Director for the UF Health Diabetes Center of Excellence. The author of over 250 publications, Dr. Atkinson is beginning his 27th year of investigation into the field of type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes. Dr. Atkinson has been the recipient of multiple scientific and humanitarian based awards for these efforts. Those include three from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). The first was the Gerold and Gayla Grodsky award (2001) provided to the outstanding Ph.D. investigating type 1 diabetes. More recently, he was (twice) awarded the Mary Tyler Moore & S. Robert Levine M.D. award for translational research on type 1 diabetes (2004 and 2008). Finally, he was the recipient of the JDRF’s Rumbough award for contributions to diabetes research (2005). Dr. Atkinson was also a recent recipient of the prestigious Eli Lilly Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement from the American Diabetes Association (2004), a rare honor in type 1 diabetes from that organization. He has also been active in a leadership service to the type 1 diabetes community, with active administrative or advisory service to The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, The American Diabetes Association, Diapedia, The National Institutes of Health, and the Immunology of Diabetes Society.
Dana Ball, Program Director, Helmsley Type 1 Diabetes Program
For over 10 years, Dana Ball has been helping to drive funding for innovative type 1 diabetes initiatives. In his current position as Program Director for the Helmsley Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) Program, Dana has developed long-term strategies and created initiatives that fund novel approaches in research, technology, systems, and outreach, resulting in a grants portfolio currently totaling over $90 million. Dana has been instrumental in building the Helmsley Type 1 Diabetes Program’s T1D Exchange, a platform for collaborative research and data sharing in type 1 diabetes that combines the best aspects of traditional clinical research with the expanding fields of health information technology and social networking. He has also facilitated strategic partnerships with organizations such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and convened type 1 diabetes funders to eliminate duplicate efforts and create more efficiency and impact in the field.
Corey Brewer, NBA Minnesota Timberwolves
Former Gator and current NBA Minnesota Timberwolves Basketball player Corey Brewer is committed to being apart of “the team” to defeat diabetes. He recently hosted his fourth year of The Corey Brewer Back 2 Back Youth Basketball Camp in Gainesville that runs in early August. He created the “Corey Brewer Fight Diabetes Fund” to provide funds for diabetes patient programs, raise awareness, and offer education and outreach. Brewer’s father, Ellis, died of complications from diabetes last February at the age of 68. Brewer’s proceeds from the camp are donated to UF Health- Shands Hospital. “It is fun to watch some of the kids develop their skills from year to year,” says Brewer. “I truly enjoy giving back to the community that has given me so much.”
Dr. Kenneth Cusi currently serves as the chief of the adult division of endocrinology, diabetes & metabolism. He oversees all adult outpatient and inpatient endocrinology clinics and consult activities, serves as a mentor for all clinical and laboratory research efforts, as well as mentors faculty and fellows in the division to help UF&Shands take the next step in becoming an international leader in adult diabetes, metabolism, and obesity. He received his medical degree from the University of Buenos Aires School of Medicine in Argentina. He completed his residency at the Center of Medical Education & Clinical Research in Buenos Aires and a clinical fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. His experience in diabetes prior to UF was in the department of medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio for more than 15 years. Cusi is the principal investigator of various ongoing clinical research projects at the UF Health Diabetes Center of Excellence.
Les Jebson, Administrator, UF Health Diabetes Center of Excellence
Les Jebson serves as the Executive Director of the UF Diabetes Center of Excellence. In this role, he oversees the center’s partnerships with internal and external stakeholders in research, philanthropy, clinical outcomes and general administration. Prior to his current role, he served as the Executive Director of The University of Florida Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Institute, both components of University of Florida Healthcare System. Les has held clinical, financial, operational and research roles in both private and academic based health systems and continues to serve as adjunct faculty at the University of Florida.
John Kampfe, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
John Kampfe, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., oversees all domestic and international financial operations of the company related to its news, entertainment, animation, sports, advertising sales and distribution units. John serves on Turner’s executive committee and works closely with Turner’s parent company, Time Warner Inc., on financial forecasting, reporting and merger and acquisitions. John was the Corporate Co-Chair of the 2011 Walk to Cure Diabetes in Atlanta. The Georgia Chapter of the JDRF annual Walk is the Chapter’s largest grassroots event to raise funds for research. The 2011 Walk hosted more than 550 teams and raised more than $2 million dollars. He also serves on the JDRF Georgia Chapter Board of Directors.
Fitz Koehler, owner Fitzness, fitness professional
Fitz Koehler is a fitness expert with a Master’s Degree in Exercise and Sports Sciences from the University of Florida, and 20 years experience teaching fitness around the globe. Besides teaching to millions of students in person via seminars, group classes and personal training in over a dozen countries, Fitz has promoted fitness through every avenue of mass media; books, television, films, radio, magazines, journals and online. She serves as a regular fitness consultant for ABC news and GTN news is dedicated in her time spent working with nonprofits and children. Fitz is not only an aggressive force in the world wide push to increase health, but has created her own distinctive brand to introduce students to the world of Fitzness.
S. Robert Levine, M.D.
S. Robert Levine is a recognized leader in the health and non-profit sector. He has served in numerous leadership and board positions with major health and public purpose organizations, where he has helped lead major capital raising, program development and advocacy initiatives. Dr. Levine has served multiple terms on the International Board and Executive Committee of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) the world’s largest private non-profit funder of diabetes research.Dr. Levine also created JDRF’s new staff acculturation orientation program, and conceived JDRF’s “cyber-volunteer” and “on-line diabetes support team” initiatives. Since 1997, Dr. Levine has served as Chairman of the Progressive Policy Institute’s “Health Priorities Project,” served as a consultant to the Congressionally mandated Diabetes Research Working Group, and is a member of the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases’ Council.
Mike Nazzaro, Universal Public Records
Mike Nazzaro has 15 years of major label executive experience focusing on A&R and Pop Promotion. Over the past 15 years he has worked in the radio promotion and marketing departments at both Epic Records (Sony Music) and most recently at Universal Republic Records (Universal Music Group) where he held the position of Senior National Director Top40 Promotion since 2006. He also served in the independent promotion departments at Artemis Records and Glassnote Records. In 2010, he founded Type One Records and Talent Management. Mr. Nazzaro has been instrumental in breaking the POP careers of Taylor Swift, Colbie Caillat, Jay Sean, Kevin Rudolf, Hinder, Owl City, The Fray, Natasha Beddingfield and Amy Winehouse, selling over 100 million digital singles combined.
Ryan Reed, Venturi Motorsports, NASCAR
Ryan currently resides in Moorsesville, NC a hotbed for NASCAR racing. In February, 2011 he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Ryan joined Venturini Motorsports in 2012 and is currently driving in the ARCA Racing Series (A NASCAR Driver Development Program). Focusing on his commitment and determination, Ryan has set records and compiled an impressive list of racing accomplishments. As an outspoken diabetic who puts his passion for racing into “Ryan’s Mission,” he helps build awareness and support for people with diabetes around the world through his website: drivetostopdiabetes.org. In 2009, Ryan became the Legends Division Track Champion at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Irwindale, CA). Ryan backed up his Championship the following year at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale by becoming the 2010 Rookie-of-the-Year in the Super Late Model Division. He took home one win in the 2010 season becoming the youngest winner at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale in the Super Late Model Division. In 2011 season, Reed raced in many different series, racing surfaces, tracks, and cars, including the Pro Allstars Series, NASCAR Whelen All American and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. In November 2013, Ryan partnered with the American Diabetes Association’s “A Day in the Life of Diabetes” campaign; featuring images of individuals and families impacted by diabetes on his #16 race-car. Through his love, and passion for racing, Ryan hopes to continue making a difference in the lives of many more individuals with this disease.
Dr. Schatz is Professor and Associate Chairman of Pediatrics, Medical Director of the UF Health Diabetes Center of Excellence and Director of the UF Clinical Research Center 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 Type1 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. He has served in numerous capacities for the American Diabetes Association including study sections and site visits, and serves as an integral member of the inaugural DCE Leadership Council.
Dr. Janet Silverstein currently serves as Program Director for the Pediatric Endocrine Fellowship at Shands at UF and Division Chief of Pediatric Endocrinology at UF. In her years of experience she has held and holds many titles including director, chief, program director, professor, medical director, associate chief, and associate professor, to name a few. She is also a member of many national committees including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society (LWPES), the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), the American Diabetes Association, the Endocrine Society, the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP), and the FDA Advisory Panel for Endocrine and Metabolic Disease. In addition, she has served as the medical director for the Florida Camp for Children and Youth with Diabetes since 1979. Dr. Silverstein is passionate about this camp because it is often the first time children with diabetes realize they are not alone in fighting the disease. “It takes more than just medicine to solve problems like obesity,” says Dr. Janet Silverstein. “It takes advocacy, too.”