Board of Directors
We’re proud to have assembled a leadership team of decorated medical professionals and business leaders.
Michael J Haller, MD
Todd M. Brusko, PhD
Kristi Balavage, MD
Dr. Balavage is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Medicine, where she also completed her undergraduate education. During her time as an undergraduate, she worked in the research laboratory of Dr. Todd Brusko at the UF Diabetes Institute. After medical school, she then completed residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Atrium Health – Charlotte, NC in 2022. Her interest in diabetes continued, with her resident research project focusing on the outcomes of pregnant diabetic patients with varying levels of glycemic control. During residency, she was awarded multiple honors including the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine Award for Excellence in Obstetrics, AUGS Award for Excellence in Female Pelvic and Reconstructive Surgery, ASCCP Award for Outstanding Research, Academic and Clinical Potential as a Resident, and the Society of Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgeons Award for Outstanding Minimally Invasive Surgery.
Dr. Balavage is currently in practice in Charlotte, NC. She is Fellowship of Laparoscopic Surgeons (FLS) certified and a daVinci certified robotic surgeon. Her clinical interests include high risk obstetrics, preventative care and minimally invasive surgery.
In Memory of HADC Director Dolph von Arx
Since April 1994, John has overseen the Florida operations, which have been responsible for permitting and building over 2,000 homes and apartments. John is a resident of Naples, Florida, where he currently lives with his wife, Natalia and two daughters, Julia and Jayda.
Nicole Johnson, DrPH, MPH, MA
Nicole Johnson has nearly 25 years of experience in marketing/communications, academic behavioral health research, and non profit management. She is an award winning author and communicator who started her career when named Miss America 1999. She holds a Doctorate Degree in Public Health as well as Masters in Public Health and Communications and is currently Vice-President of Operations, Science & Healthcare at the American Diabetes Association.
Nicole was previously the National Director of Express Feedback for Good at HundredX where she focused on building relationships with non-profit organizations to amplify their audience engagement and fundraising strategies.
Over the years, Nicole has served on many advisory boards including the Florida Governor’s Diabetes Advisory Council, the NIH Council of Public Representatives and the national boards for both the American Diabetes Association and JDRF. Nicole has been recognized for her work around the world. She is a recipient of the Charles H. Best Medal for Distinguished Service in the Cause of Diabetes, the C. Everett Koop Medal for Health Promotion and has been recognized by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and Regent University.
Desmond Schatz, MD
Throughout his career Lowellfocused on business management as well as sales and marketing. He created a cemetery industry sales manual that continues to be referenced today. He shared his business wisdom and expertise in both training reference manuals and through regularly taught training sessions. His training classes have continued to be taught through a series of video recorded training sessions. His “teach and share” mentality and business advice has been captured in his book.
Lowell was president and CEO of the largest, private family-owned operator of funeral homes and cemeteries in Florida with 34 locations. Since the sale of their funeral properties, Lowell, his son Ty and wife Nancy have bought and sold over 24 apartment complexes in Orlando, Jacksonville and Daytona Beach totaling more than 4,000 apartments. In the last year and a half, they have sold 15 apartment complexes for over $200 million.
Lowell served on the board of directors of several state cemetery and funeral associations. He has been master of ceremonies and a keynote speaker at numerous state and national trade association meetings as well as entrepreneur conferences and summits, particularly on leadership. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Florida Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association. He also received the Mayor’s Award for Civic Engagement and received the Halifax Humane Society’s humanitarian awards.
Lowell was the captain of his Vero Beach High School baseball team with a school-record batting average of .509. He was captain and quarterback of his high schoolfootball team as well and voted most athletic in his high school class. He attended college on a baseball scholarship, was captain of his college baseball team and voted Most Valuable Playerstriking out 19 batters in one game, a school record. Lowell quarterbacked a competitive 7-on-7 flag football teamand was inducted into both theU.S. Touch & Flag Football Hall of Fame and the FL Flag Football Hall of Fame. He was a two-time National Flag Football MVP and quarterbacked his team when they won the national flag football championship.
Jon Piganelli, PhD
David Wagner PhD
Dr. Wagner received his BS in Chemistry/Biology in 1984 from King College in Tennessee. He received his MS and PhD in Biomedical Sciences from East Tennessee State University in 1987 and 1994 respectively. Dr. Wagner then completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Immunology followed by a second Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Colorado Denver and the Barbara Davis Childhood DiabetesCenter in Diabetes/Immunology. He was appointed Instructor, Assistant Professor, and Associate Professor at the University of Colorado in 2000, 2002, and 2008 respectively. Dr. Wagner is presently an Investigator at the Webb-Waring Institute for Cancer, Aging, and Antioxidant Research. In addition, he is Associate Professor, Division of Pulmonary Medicine and Critical Care, Department of Medicine and Head, Section of Immunology at the Webb-Waring Center within the University of Colorado Department of Medicine. Dr. Wagner’s dedication to finding a cure for Type 1 Diabetes brings hope to all who are dealing with this lifelong disease.
David Marrero, PhD
Dr. Marrero, whose research has focused on medication adherence, community health programs, early diabetes intervention and translational medicine, also is professor of public health at the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, Department of Health Promotion Sciences, and professor in the UA College of Medicine Tucson, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology.
The Center will focus on building extensive collaborative efforts to affect the treatment of type 2 diabetes in border populations. Working with the Arizona Area Health Education Centers (AzAHEC) and other UAHS centers, the Center for Border Health is establishing Regional Arizona Centers of Excellence in Clinical Research (or RACER sites) in Yuma and Nogales to provide mental health services for individuals with diabetes and to develop culturally appropriate and relevant training programs.
Dr. Marrero joins the UA Health Sciences after 20 years at Indiana University, where he served as director of its Diabetes Translational Research Center and the J.O. Ritchey Professor of Medicine. He was instrumental in the development of a Diabetes Prevention Program and the TRIAD study, which evaluated strategies to improve diabetes care delivery in managed-care settings, among many other achievements.
Twice awarded the Allene Von Son Award for Diabetes Patient Education Tools by the American Association of Diabetes Educators, Dr. Marrero has been nominated to Who’s Who in Medicine and Health Care in 2000, served as the associate editor for Diabetes Care (1997-2002) and is the associate editor for Diabetes Forecast. He was selected for an Alumni of the Year award from the University of California, Irvine in 2006 and Outstanding Educator in Diabetes in 2008 by the American Diabetes Association. In 2016, he served as the president for health care and education of the American Diabetes Association. His research interests also include strategies for promoting diabetes prevention, improving diabetes care practices used by primary care providers and the use of technology to facilitate care and education. His clinical interests include diabetes, obesity and coping.
Dr. Marrero received a bachelor’s degree (1974), master’s degree (1978) and doctorate (1982) in social ecology from the University of California, Irvine.