Board of Directors

Meet our

We’re proud to have assembled a leadership team of decorated medical professionals and business leaders.

Tami Balavage

When my son was diagnosed my life was changed forever. Watching my son live with this disease every second of every minute of every hour knowing that he will always be affected by this disease has opened my eyes to a world I never knew existed. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, adult-onset blindness, and lower limb amputations. Diabetes is also a significant cause of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and nerve damage. Diabetics are always at risk for these complications, which can happen early in life if their diabetes is not managed. As a mother of a child with Type 1 diabetes, my worst fear is that my son will be the victim of these complications.

Michael J Haller, MD

Dr. Haller is the Chief of Pediatric Endocrinology at the University of Florida, College of medicine. He is an active investigator in the NIH funded Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet studies as well as The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in Youth (TEDDY) study. Dr. Haller has also served as the principal investigator of “first in man” studies aimed at using autologous umbilical cord blood stem cells as a potential therapy for Type 1 Diabetes. In addition, he has served as the PI of studies seeking to determine the potential of a combination of FDA approved immunotherapeutics to augment the autoimmune destruction of islets in patients with recent onset Type 1 Diabetes. Dr. Haller has been awarded the Lawson Wilkins Clinical Scholar award, a JDRF innovative research grant, two NIH R21 awards, a JDRF Early Career Clinically Oriented award, and support from the Hemsley Trust to support his work in developing combination therapies for Type 1 Diabetes. In 2008, Dr.Haller, and his colleagues Dr. Desmond Schatz and Dr. Mark Atkinson received the JDRF’s highest award, the Mary Tyler Moore and S.Robert Levine Excellence in Clinical Research Award, for their team approach to developing therapies for Type 1 Diabetes.

Todd M. Brusko, PhD

Dr. Brusko conducted his graduate training at the University of Florida, College of Medicine in the Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences. While there he was awarded the Graduate Fellowship for Outstanding Research Award for his work in the laboratory of Dr. Mark Atkinson. Dr. Brusko went on to conduct his post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) under the mentorship of Dr. Jeffrey Bluestone. Dr. Brusko’s work at UCSF was supported by a prestigious Advanced Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award sponsored by the JDRF. This work contributed to the first clinical trial employing regulatory T cells as a potential treatment for type 1 diabetes. Dr. Brusko is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology, Immunology, and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Florida where he conducts research at the Diabetes Center of Excellence

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

Dolph and Sharon von Arx have been philanthropic and service pillars of the Naples area for more than thirty years during which time numerous organizations have benefited from their generosity which, in turn, has enriched our community greatly. Organizations and institutions that have been fortunate to work closely alongside The von Arx Family Foundation include the Naples Accelerator, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Youth Haven, The Shelter for Abused Women and Children, The Community Foundation of Collier County, Hodges University, The Naples Museum of Art, The Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts and NCH Healthcare Systems, where Mr. von Arx served for 11 years as Chairman of the Board and now, Help a Diabetic Child. Dolph and Sharon have been in leadership positions in almost every organization to which they have lent their names and continually strive for the betterment of our area. Serving as co-chairs of the Annual Florida Diabetes and Wellness Conference has raised the bar of this conference’s goals, which are to educate the public and medical community about the latest in diabetes research, treatment and prevention and to help further establish the conference as an annual mainstay event at Florida Southwestern State College.

John Reisman

John Reisman received his Undergraduate Degree from American University with a B.S. in Business Administration from the Kogad Business School. He continued his studies at New York University where he received a Master of Science Degree in Real Estate Development & Investment. John graduated top of his class from NYU and was presented with the Award of Highest Scholastic Achievement from the 1991 graduating class. He is a Licensed General Contractor in the State of Florida. John has been a Type 1 diabetic since the age of 14 and is an active member of the JDRF Southwest Florida Chapter. John’s oldest daughter is also a Type 1 diabetic since the age of 7.


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

Dr. Schatz is Professor and Associate Chairman of Pediatrics, Medical Director of the Diabetes Center and Associate Director of the GCRC at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He served as the 2016 President for the American Diabetes Association. He has been involved in Type 1 diabetes research since the mid-80s and has published over 340 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 currently PI 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 of the Florida-Georgia Center in the international TEDDY consortium. He has served in numerous capacities for the American Diabetes Association and on study sections and site visits for the NIDDK and JDRF. 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.
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Jon Piganelli, PhD

Dr Piganelli is Associate Professor of Surgery, Immunology and Pathology Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh at UPMC and has been involved in studying immunology and autoimmunity in Type 1 Diabetes. His work primarily focuses on the role of oxidative stress and free radical generation and how it leads to secondary inflammation since the majority of pathological conditions have an inflammatory component. Also these redox reactions are critical for synergizing the innate and adaptive immune response, and exploitation of these reactions can modulate immune function. Dr. Piganelli has studied these interaction in both human islets isolated from cadaveric donors as well as in animal models of T1D like the NOD mouse. His work has demonstrated that modulation of redox-dependent signaling can have positive effects on controlling aberrant immune responses as well as the protection and preservation of organs and tissue for transplantation.


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Michael Balavage

Michael is a graduate of the University of South Florida with a degree in Psychology. While at USF Michael participated in a research program with Michael Schoenberg, PhD. Dr. Schoenberg is Chief, Neuropsychology Division, Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences and Clinical Director, Memory Disorders Clinic, at the University of South Florida. Michael is part of a team from the University of South Florida whose research was selected for presentation at the 44th annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society, Boston, MA. (Sever, R.W., Rum, R., Tabak, A., Nelson, R., Balavage, M., Osborn, K. E., Benbadis, S. R., Vale, F. L., Waseem, H., & Schoenberg, M. R. (2016, February). Seizure remission status following surgery for localization-related epilepsy associated with differences in postoperative WAIS-IV performance) Michael has been managing Type 1 Diabetes since December of 2010.

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

David G. Marrero, PhD, is the director of the UA Center for Border Health at the University of Arizona Health Sciences. The Center for Border Health works to develop programs and strategies to improve health and wellbeing along the U.S.-Mexico border and across the greater Southwest.
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.

Henry Rodriguez, MD

Henry Rodriguez, MD is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, Clinical Director of the USF Diabetes Center, and Principal Investigator of the USF TrialNet Clinical Center. His career has focused on collaborative clinical research, clinical care, and education in type 1 diabetes. Dr. Rodriguez served as Principal Investigator and Clinical Center Director for the Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet Indiana University Clinical Center beginning at TrialNet’s inception in 2001 until his departure in 2010. He was recently awarded funding as PI and Director of the USF TrialNet Clinical Center. He has been an active member of the TrialNet in multiple capacities including Chair of the TrialNet Natural History Protocol Committee since 2010. He is also the PI for numerous diabetes clinical studies including the T1D Exchange USF Center and 9 industry sponsored trials investigating therapies in children and young adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Dr Rodriguez also cares for children at the Morisani Center located on the campus of the University of South Florida.

Asjad Khan, M.D. FAAP

Dr. Khan has been caring for pediatric diabetes patients in the Southwest Florida region since November of 2007 when he provided key guidance in establishing the Pediatric Endocrinology program at Golisano Children’s Hospital in Fort Myers, FL. Dr. Khan completed medical school at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, NY followed by a residency in pediatrics at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, NY where he served as chief resident. Dr. Khan remained at Winthrop University Hospital where he completed a fellowship in Pediatric Endocrinology after which he helped establish the Pediatric Endocrinology program at New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, NY. Dr. Khan continues to work with his colleagues at Golisano Children’s Hospital to provide comprehensive medical care for children with diabetes as well as all endocrine disorders.

Jo Ellen Condon

Jo Ellen Condon has a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and Dietetics from Virginia Tech, is a registered dietitian/nutritionist, certified diabetes care and education specialist and certified Tandem and Insulet insulin pump trainer with over thirty years of dietetics, diabetes, and management experience. She currently provides diabetes care and education at Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Diabetes and Endocrine Specialists Group in Annapolis, Maryland and Riverside Medical Associates endocrinology practice in Bowie, Maryland. In addition, she is a consultant with national organizations through her private practice, RDiabetes EmpowerMNT, LLC. Her national work focuses on diabetes program development and mentoring of diabetes professionals. Previously, Jo Ellen served as the National Managing Director of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Education Recognition Program (ERP) for six years. During her time at ADA, she was responsible for ADA’s status as a Medicare National Accrediting Organization for Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES). She also worked with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Diabetes Advocacy Alliance (DAA), the American Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (ADCES), Indian Health Services (IHS), and State Health department leaders. Jo Ellen has had the honor of being a workgroup member for the 2017 and 2022 National Standards for DSMES. Jo Ellen’s passion for diabetes began at the age of 12 when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. While no one wants to have diabetes, it has served as her life purpose, and she gets great pleasure out of empowering others to live joyful, healthy, successful, best lives and follow their dreams.

Lowell Lohman

After graduating from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry, Lowell, a Florida native, launched a career as an entrepreneur. He ultimately owned 60 companies predominately in Florida as well as in Atlanta, Georgia and Phoenix, Arizona. As an entrepreneur, Lowell’s story and strategies for building multimillion-dollar family businesses are detailed in his recent book The Lohman Way.
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.

Ashby Walker, PhD

Dr. Walker received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Emory University in 2007 and currently serves as the Director for Health Equity Initiatives at the University of Florida Diabetes Institute. Dr. Walker is a member of the North Florida American Diabetes Association Board, as well as an elected member of the American Diabetes Association National Health Disparities Committee and the Type 1 Exchange National Racial Disparities Working Group. Dr. Walker’s research as a medical sociologist focuses on pediatric type 1 diabetes and the role that social capital plays in determining health outcomes. She is the PI of several funded studies that aim to promote health equity for vulnerable populations with Type 1 Diabetes, including the All for ONE! program – a novel service-learning intervention using college students with Type 1 Diabetes as mentors for publicly insured teens with Type 1 Diabetes. Her most recently awarded grant, ECHO T1D, is a 1.6 million dollar collaborative initiative with Stanford University aimed at improving access to care for underserved T1D populations in the states of Florida and California. Her publications as a lead author have appeared in the International Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology, Clinical Diabetes, and the Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Nutrition. Dr. Walker is the recipient of five teaching, mentoring, and curriculum development awards and previously served as the Chair of Social Sciences at Mars Hill University in North Carolina.


Julia Reisman

Michele Connors

Dee Richardson

Team Members

Sam Patel

A team of experts within a single person as self entity who will collaborate with you and deliver tailored, evidenced-based suggestions for improvements. Pharmacy management is a balancing act. Patient care is my top priority, including helping them to minimize cost on drugs. I believe in efficiently maintaining cost containment with a strategy to create complete and accurate foundation for medication management.

Mallory Cone