Christel Marchand Aprigliano
Christel Marchand ApriglianoFounder
Diagnosed at twelve with Type 1 diabetes, Christel works with other prominent advocates to heighten public awareness and create meaningful positive changes in the diabetes community. She was the co-creator of diabeticfeed, the first podcast about diabetes and diabetes research and is considered a pioneer of the Diabetes Online Community (DOC).

She now devotes her efforts to many diabetes advocacy avenues, including: Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition, a non-profit dedicated to amplifying the diabetes voice on federal and state policies; The Diabetes Collective, Inc., which produces The DiabetesUnConference; and Diabetes Advocates, a program of the Diabetes Hands Foundation. You can find her thoughts on life with diabetes as a lifestyle columnist at and on her personal blog, Christel lives in the Southeast with her husband and daughter.


“Your medical team helps you with your physical health: your A1C goals, your medication, your prescriptions. That’s their job. But when you have a question about diabetes and the rest of your life, or you need support from people who understand? That’s what The Diabetes UnConference and the safe place it creates for open discussion is for.”


Nicole Berelos, PhD, MPH, CPH, CDE
Nicole Berelos, PhD, MPH, CPH, CDEFacilitator
Dr. Nicole Bereolos, PhD, MPH, CPH, CDE is a clinical psychologist and certified diabetes educator with specialized training in public health. Originally from Illinois, she earned her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of North Texas and a MPH (health behavior) from UNT-Health Science Center. She completed her internship in family medicine and geriatrics at UNT-Health Science Center and a post-doctoral fellowship at Brown Medical School in Rhode Island.

While at Brown, she served as project director of a NIH funded grant to develop a diabetes management program in American Samoa based on the AADE7. She has experience in training community health workers in diabetes, presenting at scientific conferences, serving as a reviewer for peer-reviewed journals, co-authoring scientific papers, and working with both adults living in nursing homes with type 2 diabetes and with adolescents living with type 1 diabetes.

Nicole sees herself as an integral part of an inter-disciplinary team dedicated to helping people live with diabetes successfully. Currently, she has a private practice in Dallas and volunteers as a speaker for the American Diabetes Association-North Texas Chapter and JDRF. She loves to travel and shop and recently completed culinary school. She has also had type 1 diabetes for 22 years and has been pumping since 2000.

There are components to living with diabetes that medical professionals simply just don’t understand; it is MORE than numbers. This is an opportunity to talk with others living through the same daily struggles to have a dialogue about what has and hasn’t worked, an open door policy where everything goes…”


Kate Cornell
Kate CornellFacilitator
Kate envisions a world where people with diabetes receive the education, tools and support they need to live successful lives despite their diabetes. She was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2005 and began writing her blog, Sweet Success , in 2011. She has also occasionally done freelance writing for diabetes websites like Diabetic Connect and The Dx. She lives in northern Arizona with her husband, near her four children and four grandsons. They enjoy camping among the pines whenever possible.


“When times are tough in my life with diabetes, nothing helps more than having a fellow PWD say, “me too”. That support can be found online through the DOC, which is invaluable, but imagine what it would be like to sit in a room filled with other people who have diabetes. There would be no need to explain how you’re feeling. No one looks twice when you check your blood sugar or bolus for your lunch. Becoming emotional because diabetes is Just So Hard at times and everyone in the room understands. That is the power of the UnConference. That is peer support at its best. That is something we need more of in our world. When that happens, everyone wins.”


Bennet Dunlap, MPH
Bennet Dunlap, MPHFacilitator
Bennet is a health communicator and project manager with experience in diabetes, social media, and advocacy programs. Combining analysis, communication and humor to bring groups together to help people with diabetes, he is the father of two teens with Type 1 diabetes and is Type 2 himself. Following a 35 year career in commercial banking, he earned a Masters in Health Communication to professionally serve the diabetes community.

Bennet created the grassroots advocacy campaign for diabetes meter accuracy, which helped pave the way for many successful policy advocacy endeavors, including #FDAasksDOC, #Vote4DM, and most notably, as the co-founder of Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition. He writes the blog Your Diabetes May Vary.


“Building a strong patient community helps everyone. The Diabetes UnConference is one of the best ways to get to the heart of day-to-day living with diabetes while forging new important relationships that will keep us all healthy. Much like the Diabetes Online Community has grown to be incredibly important to so many, The Diabetes UnConference will do the same.”


Melissa Lee
Melissa LeeFacilitator
Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes over 25 years ago, Melissa is a respected and outspoken patient advocate, on a mission to bring patients into the dialogue with other stakeholders in the diabetes space. She has spoken on behalf of patients with government, payer, industry, regulatory, and health care provider groups. She is known both for her high utilization of diabetes technology (and her thorough reviews of such both on her own blog and writing as Tech Editor for the diabetes magazine as well as for how she uses humor, performance, diabetes-themed music video parody (, and her more than a dozen years experience as a voice teacher and professional singer to provide creative solutions for patient engagement. Throughout 2015, she led Diabetes Hands Foundation as Interim Executive Director after having served on their Board of Directors for two years. In 2016, she joins the executive team at the helm of Diabetes Media Foundation, whose online magazine A Sweet Life brings high quality diabetes journalism to thousands, communicating with, inspiring, and advocating for the diabetes community.
Anna Norton
Anna NortonFacilitator
Anna Norton, MS, has been living with type 1 diabetes since August 1993. As the Interim CEO of DiabetesSisters, she is dedicated to improving the lives of women living with diabetes through peer support and education. DiabetesSisters ( creates a safe environment for women living with diabetes through online and in-person programs such as online forums, blogs, webinars, National Conferences, and monthly support group meetups throughout the United States. Anna graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida and Master of Science in Education at Florida International University. She has worked for large university systems and metropolitan health care systems since 1999, with a focus on major gift fundraising, annual gifts, event planning and community relations. She recently relocated from Raleigh, North Carolina, to Chicago, Illinois, with her husband Mike and their young son.


Mike Norton
Mike NortonFacilitator - Those Who Love Us
Mike Norton, MA, MAS, lives as Type 3, supporting his wife with diabetes. Early on in their relationship, he learned as much as he could about the medical side of diabetes, and well as the mechanics of how medical devices worked. In the years that have followed, Mike has made learning about the social and emotional side of diabetes an integral part of his daily routine. He focuses on keeping his family healthy and teaching his young son the importance of understanding the intricacies of diabetes. Mikes enjoys sharing his knowledge with other Type 3s and exchanging personal experiences about the unique challenges of supporting a person living with diabetes. Professionally, he works for the United States’ government, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Northeastern University, a Master of Administrative Sciences from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and a Master of Arts in Political Science from Rutgers University.


Stephen Shaul
Stephen ShaulFacilitator
Stephen has been living with Type 1 diabetes since 1991. Since April 2012, he has been writer of the diabetes blog Happy Medium, and since then, has covered a number of diabetes-related subjects, including participation in clinical trials, living a week gluten free as if he were newly diagnosed with celiac disease, and the complex relationship between patients, corporate interests, and government entities.

In November 2014, he spoke before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration during a public workshop on interoperability between diabetes devices. In November 2013, Stephen began awarding medals to people living with diabetes who achieve their athletic goals. He is a part time moderator of the popular weekly DSMA Twitter chats, and advocates for people with diabetes everywhere through support of legislation designed to reduce the burden and ensure safety of people living with diabetes, and through encouraging others by staying true to the phrase “I support you… no conditions”


Moira McCarthy Stanford
Moira McCarthy StanfordFacilitator - Those Who Love Us
Moira McCarthy has been active in the diabetes community since her daughter, Lauren Stanford, was diagnosed at 6 years old in 1997. Since then, she has led many JDRF volunteer leadership roles, including National Chair of Advocacy, National Chair of Outreach and ChairMom of Childrens Congress, and is currently active in the JDRF Ride Program. She is also the Chairman of the Board of the Diabetes Scholars Foundation, and serves on the faculty and as a keynote speaker at Friends for Life. She is the author of two well-known family diabetes books, The Everything Parents Guide to Juvenile Diabetes and Raising Teens With Diabetes: A Parent Survival guide. Her blog is, and she is a regular contributor to A Sweet Life and to The DX: The Diabetes experience, as well as a founder of Project Blue November. Having raised Lauren through the many phases of life with diabetes, she says her greatest accomplishment is seeing her now adult child thriving in life. “Seeing how she is taking on life with diabetes in the fold; knowing she knows how to find and build support that works for her; it’s my proudest moment.”


Jill Weissberg-Benchell, Ph.D., CDE
Jill Weissberg-Benchell, Ph.D., CDE
Dr. Weissberg-Benchell is a pediatric psychologist and certified diabetes educator with over 25 years of research experience and clinical work with children and adolescents with diabetes and their families. Her academic appointment is as an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Weissberg-Benchell has published numerous research articles addressing issues such as adherence behaviors, family adaptation and coping, building adolescent resilience, and transitioning from pediatric to adult care. She is the co-author of two books, one that focuses on transitioning from pediatric to adult care, and another that focuses on working with adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes. Dr. Weissberg-Benchell is currently working on a study aimed at preventing depression in adolescents with diabetes, a study aimed at assessing the behavioral and psychosocial impact of attending diabetes summer camp, and a study assessing the psychosocial impact of using various diabetes-specific technologies.