Who We Are
Meet Our Team
George is a founding member of the Diabetes Leadership Council and currently serves as the CEO of both the DLC and our affiliate the Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition (DPAC). He has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1983 and has 3 other family members also living with type 1. A passionate advocate for people with diabetes, George served as the National Chair of the Board of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in 2009. He started his volunteer career with the ADA in 1986, initially serving as Treasurer and later Chair of the Maryland Affiliate. During his tenure, he held several key leadership roles, including Chair of the Baltimore Chapter, Chair of the Indianapolis Leadership Council, Chair of the Heartland Region, and Chair of the National Finance and Affiliate Associations Committees.
George led the ADA’s Task Force on Health Care Reform in 2008 which led to their position statement providing input into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He also chaired the ADA’s Legislative and Regulatory subcommittee from 2011-2015 which establishes the federal and state advocacy priorities for the Association annually.
George is also the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Theoris Group, Inc., a professional services firm headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana that provides technology solutions and software development services. He holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and earned his CPA in 1985 while working with Price Waterhouse though is now in inactive status.
Erika B. Emerson is Chief Policy Officer of the Diabetes Leadership Council. She has more than 20 years of health policy and advocacy experience, including health care and pharmaceutical public policy, issues management, strategic communications and stakeholder relations.
Her biopharmaceutical industry experience and understanding of the U.S. health care system lend unique insight to state and federal policies impacting access, quality and value of care and coverage for people with chronic conditions.
Erika’s health policy and patient advocacy experience is rooted in behavioral and mental health. A serendipitous introduction to the diabetes community sparked a heart-and-mind connection that expanded her policy interests and personal passion for patient-centered, individualized approach to chronic disease care and coverage.
Erika holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Erin Callahan joined the DPAC team with a passion for our mission to ensure quality of and access to care, medications and devices for people living with diabetes. Her professional experience in social impact marketing, MedTech mentorship, program development, and policy, system, and environment change have strongly influenced her commitment to human-centered and individualized care. Since her T1D diagnosis in 1986, Erin hasn’t let diabetes slow her down and is eager to continue working on behalf of the diabetes community that inspires and motivates our team every day.
Working today as the DPAC and DLC senior advisor for policy and government, Tom has over 20 years of experience rooted in driving and securing improvements in diabetes care and insurance coverage via government affairs or lobbying, public affairs, public relations, and patient advocacy. His career spans work on behalf of pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device companies, non-profit patient organizations, professional associations, and related sectors to drive diabetes care improvements via government affairs, communications, and patient advocacy. He has also worked on behalf of and with nationally recognized and often little-known elected officials or administrative staff at the federal and state levels to achieve these diabetes care improvements.
Lisa Smith is the Director of Development for the Diabetes Leadership Council (DLC). Prior to joining DLC, Lisa served as a director of development for Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, Texas; Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma; The University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. She began her career in fundraising with the I Know I Can college access program in Columbus, Ohio.
Lisa holds a bachelor’s degree in history of art and architecture from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, a master’s degree in art education and a master’s degree in history of art, both from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and began Ph.D. course work in art history at the Graduate School and University Center, CUNY in New York City.
She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1986.
Amanda is the Communications Associate for DPAC. Prior to joining DPAC, she interned with DLC as a Health Policy Associate. Amanda earned her undergraduate and master's degree at Johns Hopkins University. She was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2011, and she loves connecting people with diabetes to resources, information, support, and lifelong friends in the diabetes community.
Meet Our Board
R. Stewart Perry
R. Stewart Perry grew up in Lexington KY. Since 1983 he has been the co-owner of Perry & Perry State Farm Insurance, one of the largest State Farm Insurance agencies in the state of Kentucky and is a Diabetes Consultant and Advocate.
Stewart was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1990, since that time he has been actively involved in Diabetes. Stewart was the Chairman of the National Board of Directors of the American Diabetes Association and Chair of the National Advocacy Committee for 5 years, He was Chair Bluegrass Chapter for a number of years .He served as the Kentucky Affiliate Board of Vice-Chair and was Chair-Elect when it became a part of the Southern Region where he served as the Chair of the Southern Region. Stewart is a member of the Kentucky Diabetes Network and a founding member of the Fayette County Diabetes Collation. Stewart was appointed to The Children with Diabetes National Board, and is Vice Chairperson of the Diabetes Patient Advocacy Collation National board.
Stewart is one of the founders of the Diabetes Leadership Council and currently serves as Chairperson. He has had a leadership role in passing Diabetes Action Plan legislation in 25states
Stewart’s family has been dramatically affected by diabetes. His son had type -1 diabetes, both parents, and sister have all had diabetes during their lifetime. He has lost an uncle, grandfather, great grandmother and son to complications of diabetes.
He is known as a passionate and tenacious advocate of diabetes issues on both the State and Federal level
In addition to diabetes organizations Stewart continues to be very involved in community and state charitable organizations and currently serves as Past President of Equestrian Events Inc. (the organizer of the KY Three Day Event), board member of Kentucky State Police Foundation, board member of the Prevention Research Institute and serves on the KY Horse Park Commission.
Stewart is married to Judy Briggs Perry and has two daughters Laura Briggs age 24, Samantha Briggs age 19 and one son John Stewart Perry age 33 who passed away in 2020.
Alyce Thomas is a Nutrition Consultant for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson, NJ. She is the immediate Past Chair/Industry Relations Chair of the Diabetes Dietetic Practice Group (formerly Diabetes Care and Education) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a member of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s National Institute of Child Health Development Advisory Council; the New Jersey Governor’s Council on the Prevention of Developmental Disabilities, and the Sweet Success Extension Program Advisory Council.
She was a Professional Issues Delegate in the House of Delegates of the American Dietetic Association, Chair of the Women’s Health dietetic practice group, and a member of the Black Infant Mortality Reduction Resource Center Advisory Board. In 2011, she was appointed to the National Institutes of Health – Consensus Development Panel on Diagnosing Gestational Diabetes.
Alyce received the following awards in recognition of her work in diabetes and pregnancy: Excellence in Clinical Practice Award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; Diabetes Educator of the Year from the Diabetes Care and Education Dietetic Practice Group; and Excellence in Practice Award from the Women’s Health Dietetic Practice Group. She is a co-author of the American Dietetic Association Guide to Gestational Diabetes Mellitus; The Art and Science of Diabetes Self-Management Education: A Desk Reference for Healthcare Professional; and Diabetes in Black America: Public Health and Clinical Solutions to a National Crisis.
Originally from Nova Scotia, Canada, Alyce received a B.Sc. in Home Economics from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. She completed her dietetic internship in community/prenatal nutrition at the Montreal Diet Dispensary.
Donna Ryan currently is the Regional Director of Population Health for Ascension Health – Sacred Heart Health System on the Florida Gulf Coast. She holds dual licenses as a registered nurse and registered dietitian. She earned her Master’s in Public Health from California State University, Northridge in 2004 and her Bachelors in Science at the University of Alabama. She is a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist, and a Fellow of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE).
Ms. Ryan served as the 2018 President of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE). She has also served as AADE Treasurer and as member of Board of Directors from 2012 to 2019.
Ms. Ryan serves in several leadership and advisory positions, including the Diabetes Advisory Council (DAC) for the State of Florida, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Collaborative for Health Equity, Centers for Disease Control DSMES Marketing Strategy Group, and Director of Diabetes Prevention Programs at Ascension Sacred Heart. As part of the Florida DAC she participated in the Women in Government Diabetes Learning Exchange working with Florida Legislators to identify needs and opportunities for the state to improve diabetes and prediabetes care, coverage and support. She was a workgroup member and speaker for the CDC, National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, and Florida Dept of Health ‘Diabetes Prevention Program-An Equitable Approach for State Empowerment’.
Along with advisory roles, Ms. Ryan has served as a panelist for FDA Critical Path Innovation Meeting: Hypoglycemia and FDA/CMS Hearing on Glucose Monitoring. From 1996 to 2013, Ms. Ryan worked as a diabetes and nutrition educator at medical centers and hospitals in California and Florida.
Ms. Ryan has dedicated 30 years of service to patients with diabetes and chronic conditions, providing expert clinical care, education and support in hospitals, public health, community health and population health settings. She is passionate about helping underserved communities manage their diabetes and advocating for equitable access to quality care and resources.
Nancy is a clinical pharmacist and certified diabetescare and education specialist working at Ascension St John Hospital and MedicalCenter in Detroit, Michigan. She hashelped in establishing her hospital inpatient protocols and policies aroundglycemic management, and assists in protocol implementation, revision and staffeducation.
Her involvement in thediabetes landscape spans 20 years where she has served on local and nationalcommittees for ADA, JDRF, AHA and ADCES. Nancy is currently serving as a member of the board for CBDCE (Certification Board for Diabetes Care andEducation)
She holds a B.S. in pharmacy from Wayne StateUniversity in Detroit, MI; achieved her distinction as a Certified DiabetesEducator in 2008 and was recognized as a fellow of ADCES in 2011.
In addition to serving as a current board member of the DLC, Larry Smith is the founder and manager of a national marketing research and consulting firm in Lexington, Kentucky. His business performs marketing research for firms in a number of industries, particularly the financial services industry.
Prior to starting his own company, Larry served as SVP, VP, and Director of Marketing at several high-value financial organizations in Kentucky and Virginia. He holds an MBA from the University of Louisville.
Larry’s work with the American Diabetes Association is extensive. He has served as Chair of the Kentucky Affiliate and of the Southern Region. He was either a member or Chair of the Inclusion, Marketing, Communications, CEO Selection, Income Development, and Diversity committees. And he has sat as both a member and the Chair of the Board of Directors.
In 2001, the ADA honored Larry with the Addison B. Scoville Award for Volunteerism, and in 2008, he won the Wendell Mays award.
Hunter Limbaugh served as Chair of the Board of the American Diabetes Association in 2012. Based in Columbia, South Carolina, Hunter is currently the Southeastern Counsel for the Wine Institute. He has been an active litigator for over 20 years and a Government Relations professional for over 15 years. He is a former SC legislator and Chief Legal Counsel to the SC Governor. He was admitted to the Bar in 1982.
Dr. Jasmine D. Gonzalvo, PharmD, CDCES, BC-ADM, FADCES is the Chris and Theresa Dimos Director of the Center for Health Equity and Innovation and a Clinical Professor in the College of Pharmacy at Purdue University. She provides cardiovascular risk reduction medication management services for diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and tobacco use disorders at Eskenazi Health Pecar Health Center for a largely LatinX/Hispanic population in a Federally Qualified Health Center. She has served on and chaired national Boards for diabetes organizations. She is active in advocacy efforts at the State and Federal levels, most recently having served on the National Clinical Care Commission charged with making recommendations to improve diabetes across federal programs. Her research interests relate to community health workers, cardiovascular risk reduction in disinvested populations, integration of the Spanish language into practice and academic settings, and diabetes self-management education and support in the pharmacy setting. She has received a variety of awards highlighting her excellence in practice and teaching throughout her career.
Prior to joining the DLC Board, Karen Grishaber worked in corporate branding at several Fortune 500 companies (Rockwell, GE and Abbott). She retired from Abbott in 2015 after managing commercial operations for Abbott’s Animal Health Division.
Karen currently works as a personal branding specialist and coach who helps professionals identify and express their unique talents to find new opportunities and to grow their career. She also founded two professional women’s networking groups and coached disadvantaged women as a volunteer for a global not-for-profit that empowers women to achieve economic independence.
Having lived with type 1 diabetes since 1984, Karen has served on the Wisconsin Affiliate Board of Directors and the ADA’s national Board of Directors, chaired its national Strategic Marketing Committee, and served on multiple ADA committees and task forces.
Karmeen Kulkarni is currently in private practice. She served as the Director of Global Scientific Affairs, at Abbott Diabetes Care (ADC) from January 2007- February 2022. She managed a global team at ADC, which was part of the Medical Affairs organization, and a managed a team of MSLs until February 2022. Karmeen was the coordinator for the Diabetes Center at St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City from 1997-2006. In addition to holding a Master of Science degree in Food and Nutrition from Eastern Michigan University, Karmeen is a certified diabetes education specialist, board certified advanced diabetes manager and registered dietitian. With more than 25 years' experience in the areas of nutrition and diabetes, she is recognized nationwide for her clinical expertise. She has published numerous articles, studies and nutritional guides for professional and lay audiences. She has held numerous local, state and national leadership positions including:
· June 2005 – August 2006 President, Health Care & Education, American Diabetes Association
· June 2004 – June 2005 President-Elect, Health Care & Education, American Diabetes Association
· Executive Board Member and Vice President for the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) as well as co-chair for the 1997 AADE Annual Meeting
· Executive Board Vice President for the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Utah Affiliate
· Chair and Newsletter Coordinator for Diabetes Care and Education (DCE), a practice group for of the American Dietetic Association
· She is a past member of the National Board of Directors, for the American Diabetes Association and a past Associate Editor for Diabetes Spectrum.
Karmeen has served as a member on the Content Expert Panel on Advanced Practice and was a member of the 2001-2002 AADE program planning committee. She was a faculty member of both the AADE’s professional education programs and the ADA’s Clinical Education Program on Nutrition.
Karmeen has been recognized by numerous national associations.
She is a recipient of:
· The 1999 American Dietetic Association Award for Excellence in the Practice of Clinical Nutrition, which recognizes an outstanding clinician from the membership of the American Dietetic Association.
· The 2000 AADE Distinguished Service Award
· The 2001 Utah Diabetes Educator of the Year Award
· The 2002 recipient of the American Diabetes Association’s Outstanding Educator in Diabetes Award
· Distinguished Alumna of the year, 2003 College of Health and Human Services, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan
· 2006 American Diabetes Association, Dr. Rachmiel Levine Award for Distinguished Service
· 2007 Abbott Divisional Vice President Award
· 2008 American Dietetic Association Medallion Award
Paul has extensive leadership experiences in diabetes wellness/education, motivation, behavioral medicine, empowerment, advocacy, government affairs, partnership development and fundraising. He has a primary focus on diabetes and related conditions advocacy, wellness/balanced management, empowerment, and developing/securing beneficial partnerships to grow successful, safe programs that improve physical and emotional health and increase productivity.
Paul served as Joslin’s first full-time Counselor/Psychologist taking an early lead to develop Joslin’s behavioral medicine team. As the Director of Advocacy, he led/co-led and gained approval of new laws guaranteeing reimbursement for diabetes education and blood monitoring supplies. Paul educated/trained/mentored health care professionals, patients, and families at Joslin/Harvard and institutions/organizations throughout the world. He developed and implemented several new sustainable programs, including programs for children, adolescents and families struggling with life issues and diabetes; leadership training programs for young adults with diabetes with the International Diabetes Federation and American Diabetes Association; and training programs for professionals working with children and adults living with diabetes.
At Project HOPE, Animas/Johnson & Johnson Diabetes, and the American Diabetes Association Paul led/co-led teams developing and refining education/support programs for people living with diabetes and other non-communicable diseases along with their health care providers in the US and the world. With distinguished colleagues he reviewed and helped refine ADA’s Medical Standards of Care for People Living with Diabetes. He opened and nurtured partnerships increasing revenue supports for successful programs significantly increasing reach and positive impact.
Paul led advocacy and empowerment initiatives that improved health/safety/productivity with the FDA and national/global governments, organizations, and leaders. He has conducted over 1,500 presentations/workshops worldwide for health care, academic, foundation, development, government, advocacy, corporate, non-profit, camping/recreation professionals and people living with diabetes and obesity. He has led/co-led fundraising opportunities raising more than $30 million for programs and research efforts focused on improving lives.
In his consulting and volunteer roles Paul is focusing on advocacy, empowerment, patient safety, diabetes wellness, education/training, and securing viable partnerships to optimize health for people living with and at risk of developing diabetes. Supporting peoples’ wellness has always been the wisest investment to significantly improve health and productivity while at the same time dramatically reduce future health care costs for individuals, their families, companies and governments.
Paul has lived well with Type 1 diabetes for 60+ years.
Janel Wright is an Administrative Law Judge with the State of Alaska’s Department of Labor. She served as the Legal Director for the Disability Law Center of Alaska, Alaska’s Protection and Advocacy agency. Prior to appointment as the Legal Director, she served as a Staff Attorney. The emphasis of her practice was representing children who were denied a Free and Appropriate Public Education and individuals with disabilities whose rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504, and Alaska anti-discrimination statutes had been violated. Before working for the Disability Law Center, Janel was a civil rights attorney with the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission. She is a graduate from the Ohio State University College of Law. Janel has had type 1 diabetes for 30 years and is an active volunteer for the American Diabetes Association in Alaska, serving as the 2015 Chair of the Board and on the National Board, the Advocacy Committee, and the Legal Advocacy Subcommittee, the Board Development Committee and the special task force on governance.
Dr. John Anderson practices Internal Medicine and Diabetes at the Frist Clinic in Nashville, TN. He has served as President of the multispecialty medicine clinic, Chair of the department of medicine, and Chair of the Board of Trustees for Centennial Medical Center, a 650-bed tertiary care referral hospital. He has been consistently listed as one of the Best Doctors by the Nashville Business Journal. Dr. Anderson has been a longtime volunteer for the American Diabetes Association, having served two separate terms on its National Board of Directors and as chair of National Advocacy Committee and as co-chair of the Health Reform Task Force. He has also served as a member of numerous other committees and task force groups, including the Executive Committee as well as the Primary Care and Governance groups. In 2013, Dr. Anderson served as the President, Medicine & Science of the American Diabetes Association. He has lectured both nationally and internationally on topics of diabetes, focusing on improving the care of the patient with diabetes in the primary care community.
Desmond Schatz, MD, is the Medical Director of the Diabetes Center, Professor and Associate Chairman of Pediatrics and Director of the Clinic Research Center at the University of Florida. He has been involved in Type 1 diabetes research since the mid-80s and has published more than 300 manuscripts and book chapters. He is the principal investigator on several NIH, JDRF and other foundation and industry awards. Dr. Schatz served as the 2016 President, Medicine & Science for the American Diabetes Association for more than 25 years and has served on the Board of Directors and as a member of the Advocacy, Awards, Board Development, Professional Practice, Publications, Youth Strategies, Research Grant Review and Scientific Sessions Meeting Planning Committees. He was a joint recipient of the American Diabetes Association Public Policy Leadership Award in 2010. Dr. Schatz holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of the Witwatersrand School of Clinical Medicine in Johannesburg, South Africa.