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Ambassadors Council

As ambassadors and champions, these appointed Council members help craft the vision, mission and goals on behalf of the UF Diabetes Institute and make generous commitments in their time and expertise. Together, they represent innovation in the field through forward-thinking efforts in diabetes research, education, patient care, and advocacy.

2015 – 2016 Members:

  • Mark Atkinson, Ph.D – Dr. Mark Atkinson is currently the American Diabetes Association Eminent Scholar for Diabetes Research at the University of Florida. The author of over 375 publications, he is currently in his 30th year of investigation into the field of type 1 diabetes. He is an internationally recognized authority on multiple aspects pertaining to T1D, with particular interests in disease prediction and prevention, the role for environment in the disease, stem cells and pancreatic regeneration, and the identification of markers for tolerance and immunoregulation. Mark is also Director of the JDRF Network for Pancreatic Organ Donors, or nPOD, an international effort dedicated to an improved understanding of human T1D. Finally, as President of IFL-USA and a key advisor to Life for a Child, he seeks to provide diabetes related support for international based efforts designed to bring food/medications/education to impoverished nations.
  • Mark A. Bateh – Mark Bateh is an accomplished consultant of both academic and professional settings. As a trained statistician, Mark’s unique ability to combine strategy with statistical methods has been key to the growth portfolio of such companies as United Technologies, Florida Blue, AT&T and several Fortune 500 ventures.  A Florida native, Mark earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Florida. He is a veteran adjunct course instructor in statistics with a teaching tenure of over 30+ years, and currently instructs at Florida State College in Jacksonville. Mark also serves as Vice President of a nationally accredited organization that provides physicians with a broad array of continuing medical education (CME) activities, including diabetes management. Mark and his family participate in various activities raising funds to find a cure for diabetes throughout the year, including JDRF’s Walk to Cure Diabetes.
  • Dana Ball – 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 – Former Gator forward and current NBA player Corey Brewer is committed to being part of the team to defeat diabetes. He will host his sixth annual Back 2 Back Youth Basketball Camp Series in Gainesville and Ocala 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 in 2011 at the age of 68. Brewer’s proceeds from the camp are donated to the Institute.  “It is fun to watch some of the kids develop their skills from year to year. I truly enjoy giving back to the community that has given me so much.”
  • Kenneth Cusi, M.D. – 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 University of Florida Health 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 Diabetes Institute.
  • John Kampfe – 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, – 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 is a former fitness consultant for ABC news and GTN news and dedicates her time spent working with nonprofits and children. Her recent focus has been on growing the success of her Morning Mile initiative. 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 – 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 – 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: 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.
  • Desmond Schatz, M.D. – For more than 25 years, Dr. Desmond Schatz has dedicated his career to Type 1 diabetes research and has published nearly 300 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, including current studies aimed at reversing type 1 diabetes. Dr. Schatz 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 leadership and scientific capacities for the American Diabetes Association and is the president-elect of the ADA.
  • Janet Silverstein, M.D. – Dr. Janet Silverstein currently serves as Program Director for the Pediatric Endocrine Fellowship at Shands at UF Health 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.”