March 2019 JDRF Young Adult Conference Speakers Announced

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The JDRF Young Adult Conference is right around the corner. We’re thrilled to announce the following speakers and we can’t wait to see you in Dallas on March 30th and 31st.

Haven’t signed up to attend? Registration is open until February 28th. Register now!

Brandon Arbiter: Brandon is the VP, Product and Business Development for Tidepool. He guides ideas through Tidepool’s product pipeline, from inception, through development, and into the hands of users and partners. Brandon works with designers and engineers to make sure Tidepool is smarter and more accessible to anyone looking to liberate diabetes data. Brandon was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at age 27. 

Austin Basis: Austin Basis is a celebrity ambassador for JDRF. Shortly after graduating The Actors Studio Drama School with an MFA, Austin became a lifetime member of The Actors Studio. There, he had the privilege of working with the likes of Al Pacino, Faye Dunaway & Estelle Parsons; and under the tutelage of Ellen Burstyn, Harvey Keitel, Martin Landau, Arthur Penn, Lou Antonio & Mark Rydell. He now studies with coach Cathleen Leslie and works at The Actors Studio West.

In addition to several theatrical productions and readings there, he also co-created and performed in an improv and sketch comedy show in New York City called “Mmm… Comedy.” He has continued to write and develop ideas with his production company “Behind the Bag!” Productions. He recently wrote and published a superhero comic book series about kids with disabilities and chronic illnesses called “The KINETIX”, which is being developed as a TV series.

Austin’s television acting debut was in the Comedy Central film “Porn ‘n’ Chicken”, but his first ‘break’ came in 2004 when he was cast in an episode of “LAW & ORDER: Criminal Intent.” He soon landed his first series regular role in the Fox TV pilot “Spellbound” with Christine Baranski, Barry Bostwick, Dave Annable, and Maggie Lawson. Since then, Austin has appeared on numerous television shows including: “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, “How To Get Away With Murder”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Supernatural”, “Casual”, “Necessary Roughness”, “NCIS”, “Life on Mars”, and “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” He also played the character Math Rogers on the CW drama “Life Unexpected.”

Most recently, he guest starred on episodes of “Magnum P.I”, “Lucifer”, “Scorpion” and “Wisdom of the Crowd.” But Austin is most known for his role as J.T. Forbes on the 4-time People’s Choice Award winning CW drama “Beauty & the Beast.” He also starred in the Warner Bros. web series “GHOSTFACERS.” His film credits include: “J. Edgar” (directed by Clint Eastwood), “The Other End of the Line”, “My Sassy Girl”, “American Zombie”, “Boxboarders!”, “Re-Cut”, and “Dorian Blues”, among others. He just completed production on a short film called “The Fear We Share” that he wrote, produced and starred in, which will be released later this year. Austin has also been featured in national commercial spots for State Farm, Burger King, Toys ‘R’ Us, Wendy’s, Dr. Pepper, and AT&T.

Mark Heyman: Dr. Mark Heyman is a diabetes psychologist and a Certified Diabetes Educator. Mark is the Founder and Director of the Center for Diabetes and Mental Health (CDMH) located in San Diego, California. He is also Vice President of Clinical Operations and Innovation at One Drop. He is passionate about providing evidence-based mental health treatment to people with diabetes. Mark received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from The George Washington University and completed his psychology internship at the UCSD School of Medicine. He holds an appointment as a Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSD. He has been living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) since 1999.

Rob Howe: Rob Howe has been living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) for 14 years. He is an Entrepreneur, Marketing Strategist, Podcaster and former professional basketball player. In 2015, Rob founded Diabetics Doing Things in an effort to raise awareness around the amazing things that people with T1D are doing around the world. As of 2019, Rob’s podcast has been downloaded over 750,000 times from listeners in over 50 countries. 

He hopes for a day where children, teens and adults who are diagnosed with T1D need only go online and search for people with T1D who do the thing they love, and feel confident that the dreams for their life are still valid. Rob lives in Dallas, Texas with his girlfriend Erica and their cat and dogs, Michael J. Fox, Rowan & Enzo. 

Nicole Johnson: Dr. Nicole Johnson has served as a diabetes advocate since she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in 1993. Although she is most well known for her time as Miss America 1999 when she brought awareness to diabetes by sharing her personal story, she has gained a reputation most recently for her engagement in diabetes research focused on quality of life, psychosocial issues and family dynamics.

Nicole is the National Director of Mission at JDRF where she uses her behavioral science, public health and communications background to drive strategies for population engagement and understanding. In her journalism career, Nicole won a Telly Award for her work on the CNBC diabetes talk show “dLife.” Her love of journalism lead her to be a columnist for numerous diabetes magazines as well as the author of eight books related to diabetes. Her most recent book is What to Do When Your Partner Has Diabetes: A Survival Guide.

Over the years, Nicole has served on many diabetes 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. She has a Doctor of Public Health degree, as well as master’s degrees in Public Health and Communication.

Michele Laine, MSN, APRN-BC, CDE: Michele was born in Cleveland, OH and spent most of her adult life in Los Angeles, CA. Today she practices in Tampa, FL and is the most sought after health care provider for adults with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in Tampa Bay. She has T1D herself and is very involved in the T1D community. She enjoys spending time with her husband and son, and spends her free time volunteering with horses and riding motorcycles.

Chris Ruden: Chris Ruden is an elite Powerlifter, entrepreneur, model and motivational speaker–despite his congenital birth defect leaving him with only 2 fingers on his left hand and a shorter left arm. 19 years into battling his physical situation, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D). But for Chris, losing is not an option. 

He uses his struggle to inspire people to overcome any and all adversity they may face in their lives through molding mindsets into resilient fortresses of self-belief. Through humor, logic, and passion, yet hard hitting message inspires the masses. His education mirrors his experience, as he has a bachelors degree in exercise science and health promotion as well as a laundry list of certifications and specializations in fitness, therapy and life coaching.

Chris also deadlifts over 600 pounds despite the fact of only having one hand! He has won almost every powerlifting meet he has competed in and is on track to be the world’s strongest Adaptive athlete.

Lorraine Stiehl: Lorraine Stiehl has been a diabetes partner and patient advocate for over 30 years. Together with her husband, who has had type 1 diabetes (T1D) for nearly six decades, they have survived and thrived with this chronic disease and its complications.

Lorraine has been active with the JDRF since 1987. As a local, regional and national staff member for 14 years, she launched 17 chapters in 13 states and raised millions of dollars to support diabetes research. As a volunteer leader, she served as national chair for grassroots advocacy and chaired the national advocacy committee on the International Board of Directors. Lorraine was named 1992 national staff member of the year and 2010 national volunteer of the year.

Lorraine helped to create the University of California, San Francisco Diabetes Center, partnering with its renowned diabetes researchers and clinicians for 13 years. Through her family’s consulting firm, StiehlWorks, Lorraine has provided marketing, communications and development leadership to The diaTribe Foundation, Diabetes Hands Foundation, Diabetes Research Connection, Diabetes Empowerment Foundation, Students With Diabetes, Lymphoma Research Foundation and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

To support her passion for medical research and patient health, Lorraine recruits for clinical trials including Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet, and advocates for diabetes regulatory, reimbursement and access issues.

Jim Turner: Jim Turner was diagnosed with what used to be called juvenile diabetes in 1970 at the age of 17. In 2005, Jim became one of the original co-hosts of “DLife TV” – a television series made for, and by, people with diabetes. While working at DLife, Jim started making short funny films about his life with type 1 diabetes (T1D). He won a Telly Award in 2008 for his work on the show.

During this time, he also performed his one-man show, DIABETES: My Struggles With Jim Turner, from coast to coast. In 2016 and 2017, he emceed the morning sessions of the AADE Conference in San Diego and Indianapolis. Currently he’s working on a book/memoir about a life working in the bowels of show business while dealing with diabetes.

Speaking of show business, Jim does have a life away from diabetes (though it seems to follow him everywhere), as an actor in the entertainment industry. He was a series regular for 7 years on the hit HBO show, “ARLI$$.”

In a career spanning 40 years, Jim has appeared on Castle, Franklin & Bash, Happy Endings, If Not For You, Undercovers, Perception, Young & The Restless, Big Bang Theory, Boston Legal, King of Queens, Lucky Louie, Brothers & Sisters, Party Down, Dark Blue, J.O.N.A.S, Providence, The Division, Yes Dear, Dharma & Greg, Anger Management, That 70’s Show, The Larry Sanders Show, Sliders, Rugrats, Roseanne, Tom, and Granite Flats. In 1988, MTV ran his character, Randee of the Redwoods, for President. Randee lost.

He’s also appeared in the films Bewitched, St. Elmo’s Fire, jOBS, Golf In The Kingdom, Kicking & Screaming, Meet Dave, The Ref, Lost Boys, Cold Blooded, Shelf Life, Grunt: the Wrestling Movie, The Right Stuff, Joe’s Apartment, 364 Girls a Year… and a whole lot of flotsam that fills up VHS bins at the Goodwill.