Women Leaders in Diabetes | Speakers Bio Page

Keynote Speakers invited to inspire diabetes health care professionals to dream big, try new approaches and envision themselves as powerful change agents.

Women Leaders in Diabetes Conference Agenda

Brochure | Women Leaders in Diabetes Conference

Ann L. Albright, PhD, RDN
Director, Division of Diabetes Translation
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Having lived with Type 1 diabetes for 50 years, Ann L. Albright, has an intimate understanding of the difficult journey people with diabetes often face. As a child, Albright learned from her mother, a registered nurse, how to manage her diabetes and live life to the fullest. “Back then, we didn’t have any of the tools or technology we have now,” Albright recalls. “I’ve lived with Type 1 diabetes for most of my life and can tell you: It is very challenging and, at times, scary. It shouldn’t be as hard as it is.”

As a PhD student, Albright decided to pursue exercise science and devoted her work specifically to diabetes. After completing a postdoctoral research fellowship, Albright became a registered dietitian, leading the diabetes program at the California Department of Health while working part-time in a county clinic. Albright then served as a senior advisor to the U.S. Surgeon General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, a role she chose as a way to help more people.

Fast-forward to the coalescence of Albright’s experience as a researcher, clinician and public health professional: serving as the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Diabetes Translation. “In this role, I am incredibly fortunate to work with a fantastic team and partners all over the world who inspire me daily,” she says. “In all the work I do, my hope is to make the journey easier and better for others with and at-risk for diabetes and their loved ones. Albright was named the recipient of the Academy’s 2018 Lenna Frances Cooper Memorial Lecture Award.

Tracey Brown, MBA, BChE
CEO, American Diabetes Association

As the new CEO of the American Diabetes Association, Ms. Brown started her career at Procter & Gamble as a chemical engineer in research and development, and in process engineering. After receiving an MBA from Columbia University, she became a business growth driver and an inspiring leader using, data, digital and technology to grow revenues, increase operating income and drive transformation. Throughout her 25 years of business experience and as CEO of RAPP Dallas, she has solved complex issues for large multi-national companies. Most recently, she has driven transformation in Sam’s Club’s $60 billion business by creating meaningful experiences for members, and by simplifying the work for over 100,000 associates to drive consistent and successful execution across their business.

“Following a thorough national search for our new CEO, we have found in Ms. Brown a talented business leader with deep strategic and operational expertise, as well as significant experience in consumer engagement. At the same time, as an engineer, she is a careful, analytical thinker who values and makes data-driven decisions. With this background, she is the perfect partner to the ADA’s Chief Scientific, Medical and Mission Officer William T. Cefalu, MD.

According to Ms. Brown, “I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes that became type 2 diabetes more than 14 years ago. Since then, I have lived with the burden of managing this disease every hour of every day of every year. And, as I know all too well, diabetes affects the entire family, not just the person diagnosed with diabetes. In my personal life, I strive to be a living example of how to manage and thrive with this disease.  I am ready to join the ADA in its fight to provide these same things to all people with diabetes.”

All of the skills and experience that I have gained from the for-profit world have been cultivated for such a time as this. My purpose, passion and this position have aligned, and I am honored to be joining an organization as valuable as the ADA. It changes lives for the better,” concluded Ms. Brown.

Nicole Johnson, DrPH, MPH, MA
National Director of Mission at Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Nicole Johnson, DrPH, MPH, MA has served as a diabetes advocate since she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 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 8 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. Nicole has been recognized for her work in diabetes around the world. She is a receipient of the Charles H. Best Medal for Distinguished Service in the Cause of Diabetes from the American Diabetes Association, the C. Everett Koop Medal for Health Promotion from the American Diabetes Association and have been recognized by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and Regent University.

She has a Doctor of Public Health degree, as well as master’s degrees in Public Health and Communication.

Maureen McGrath, MS, PNP-BC, BC-ADM
Associate Clinical Professor
Director, Diabetes Minor
UCSF School of Nursing

Ms. Maureen McGrath has over 20 years caring for youth with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. She helped found UCSF’s first pediatric diabetes clinic in the mid-1990s.  A graduate of the UCSF School of Nursing’s Advanced Practice Pediatric Nurse program she returned as faculty in 2012 to begin the nation’s first minor in diabetes for advanced practice nurses. She oversees diabetes projects in Haiti and Chiapas. For the past 30 plus years she has served in various roles in diabetes camps and is an innovative leader in her field.

Susan Guzman, PhD
Director of Clinical/Educational Services
Behavioral Diabetes Institute, San Diego

Dr. Susan Guzman is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in diabetes. Her clinical and research interests include overcoming barriers to self-management, family issues with diabetes, and promoting attitudes of living well with chronic illness. She developed and runs many of the Behavioral Diabetes Institute’s clinical programs, including Defeating the Depression/Diabetes Connection, Just for Parents and Living Well with Complications.

Edi Matsumoto FNP, MSN, MFA, CDE, BC-ADM

Montage Medical Group and Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula

Edi Matsumoto earned her Nurse Practitioner certificate and master’s degree in Nursing from San Jose State University. She has been working at hospitals and clinics in Monterey County since 1995. She currently specializes in diabetes management at Montage Medical Group and Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. She received a master’s degree in Fine Arts from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 2018. Her body of work titled “Lives in Our Hands” depicts narrative portraits of healthcare professionals (HCPs), including day to day struggles they face and joy that they work for. Her work has been shown at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, the Triton Museum of Arts in Santa Clara, and Pacific Grove Art Center among others. She is involved in the action collaborative lead by the National Academy of Medicine to raise awareness on the HCP burnout issue to promote their well-being by using art, mindful awareness and wellness coaching. Her additional work can be seen at www.EdiMatsumoto.com.

Kelly Close, BA, MBA
Founder of diaTribe.org and Close Concerns

Kelly Close founded Close Concerns in 2002; its mission is to make everyone smarter about diabetes. At Close Concerns, Kelly and her team write approximately three million words each year on diabetes, pre-diabetes, obesity, and digital health for Closer Look, a highly-praised service covering the goings-on in the field. Kelly’s passion for the field comes from her extensive professional work as well as from her personal experience, having had diabetes for over 30 years. Kelly is the author of over 30 peer-reviewed manuscripts as well as “Targeting A Cure for Type 1 Diabetes: How Long Do We Have to Wait?” a widely-praised book published by the ADA in 2013. She also wrote the forward for the widely praised “Bright Spots and Landmines” by Adam Brown, published in 2017, now out to over 100,000. Kelly is an associate editor of Clinical Diabetes, a journal focused on diabetes for primary care physicians published quarterly by the ADA. Kelly chairs The diaTribe Foundation, a nonprofit established in 2013 to improve the lives of people with diabetes and pre-diabetes and to advocate for action. She is also the founder of diaTribe.org, begun in 2006 as an educational resource for people with diabetes; diaTribe.org’s free educational mailers go to over 175,000 people every week.

Kelly has a BA in economics and English from Amherst College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She was a founding board member of the Institute for Responsible Nutrition, led by UCSF’s Dr. Robert Lustig, and a previous executive board member of the Diabetes Hands Foundation and the Behavioral Diabetes Institute. She and husband are co-hosts of the popular San-Francisco-based discussion series CPS Lectures.

Conference Coordinators and Speakers

 This program is a labor of love and passion. It is a dream co-opted by two Diabetes Nurse Specialists and Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs) who believe that women make a powerful difference in the lives of people living with diabetes.

Beverly Thomassian RN, MPH, CDE®, BC-ADM

As president of Diabetes Education Services, Beverly Thomassian believes that we can improve diabetes care through education, advocacy and curiosity.  As a diabetes coach, she promotes excellence in care through her live courses and webinar presentations. Beverly is a Diabetes Nurse Specialist and is Board Certified in Advanced Diabetes Management. She is an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California, San Francisco, (UCSF) and a visiting professor at California State University, Chico.

Beverly is a leader in field of diabetes. In 1998 she launched her own consulting company, Diabetes Education Services (DES). The goal of DES is to support health care professionals in their journey to advance their careers in diabetes. This support is provided through live and online training programs, free webinars, one-to-one correspondence and consultation.  To date, Beverly has helped thousands of health care professionals achieve their dream of becoming Certified Diabetes Educator. As a national speaker at over 300 different venues, Beverly Thomassian has developed a special knack of translating complex diabetes information into understandable terms that can be immediately applied in the clinical setting. Her philosophy is that learning about diabetes should be meaningful and fun, with a focus on compassionate and kind hearted care.

Theresa Garnero, APRN, BC-ADM, MSN, CDE
Instructional Designer Specialist
UCSF School of Nursing
Founder, Sweet People Club

Ms. Theresa Garnero trail blazed several innovations in the field of diabetes from using therapeutic humor to facilitate self-care behaviors, to creating a community-based dance program to prevent and manage diabetes, to discovering the impact of diabetes within the sexual minority group, and to using online platforms to reach people with diabetes and their providers. She is a cartoonist and authored 3 diabetes books.

Garnero was awarded the national Diabetes Educator of the Year by the American Association of Diabetes Educators (2004). Her latest efforts are aimed at preventing diabetes by founding the newly launched Sweet People Club (sweetpeopleclub.com). Read more about Theresa on  her website www.diabetescatalysts.com