Dolph and Sharon von Arx have been philanthropic and service pillars of the Naples area for over thirty years.  Numerous organizations have benefitted from their generosity which in turn has enriched our community greatly.  Organizations and institutions fortunate to work closely alongside The von Arx Family are; the Naples Business Accelerator, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Youth Haven, The Shelter for Abused Women and Children, NCH Healthcare Systems where Mr. von Arx served as Board Chair for 11 years, The Community Foundation, Hodges University, The Naples Museum of Art, and The Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts just to name a few.  Dolph and Sharon have been in leadership positions in almost every organizations they have lent their names to and continually strive for the betterment of our area.  Serving as co-chairs of this Second Annual Naples Diabetes Conference has raised the bar of this conference’s goals to educate diabetes treatment, preventions, and research to the entire Naples Community; and help to further established it as an annual mainstay at the Greater Naples YMCA.


Mark Atkinson, Ph.D.  is the American Diabetes Association Eminent Scholar for Diabetes Research and the Jeffrey Keene Family Professor at the University of Florida. Dr. Atkinson has devoted more than 30 years of investigation into the field of Type 1 diabetes.  He is the recipient of multiple scientific and humanitarian based awards for these efforts. He has also been active in a leadership service to the type 1 diabetes community, with active administrative or advisory service to The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Diapedia, The American Diabetes Association, The National Institutes of Health, and the Immunology of Diabetes Society. 

Finally, Dr. Atkinson is active at a global level for causes related to the care and treatment of those in the third world; especially and including persons with type 1 diabetes. For this cause, he serves as President of Insulin for Life USA, and is an Advisor to Life for a Child.


Pastor John Dirkse is married to the sunshine of his life, Betsey and they are both from the west coast, Washington State and Southern California.  Together they share 5 fantastic children, Luke, Lissy, Lauren, Emma, and Olivia.  Three are currently at the Master’s University while the younger two are in high school.  John has been the Senior Pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel in Rockford, IL since 2005.  As someone with type 1 diabetes, John has had to wrestle with the question of faith and how that intersects with the reality of his disease. 


Pam Eichler, RN, BSN, CDE is the director of the Out Reach Program for diabetes prevention and treatment at Physicians Regional Health Care System. She earned her bachelor's of science degree in nursing at University of Wisconsin. She specialized in diabetes while employed by the Cleveland Clinic Naples Department of Endocrinology and assisted in coordinating the Certified Diabetes program from 2000-2014. She has continued as a certified diabetes educator at Physicians Regional Medical Center, where she has been able to provide programs free to the public for education on diabetes prevention and treatments.

Timothy S. Harlan, M.D., FACP, currently serves as Associate Dean for Clinical Services at Tulane University School of Medicine is the Executive Director of the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine, the first of its kind teaching kitchen operated by a medical school.  The center offers an innovative program teaching medical students about diet and lifestyle that bridges the gap between the basic sciences, clinical medicine, the community and culinary education.  Medical students work side-by-side in the kitchen with culinary students to teach each other and, most importantly, teach the community and patients how to return to their kitchens and transform their health.  

Henry Rodriguez, M.D. is a Professor of Pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of South Florida (USF) and the Clinical Director of the USF Diabetes Center. His career has focused on the prevention and clinical management of type 1 diabetes, always advocating on behalf of those affected by diabetes. He has been a lead investigator in national and international collaborative type 1 diabetes (T1D) studies including the NIH-funded DPT-1 and TrialNet, and the Helmsley Charitable Trust-funded T1D Exchange, in addition to industry-partnered studies focused on expanding the number of FDA-approved medications for children with type 2 diabetes. He directs the USF TrialNet and T1D Exchange Clinical Centers and he is the immediate past chair of the TrialNet Pathway to Prevention Study. 

His collaborative efforts also include working with others to improve technologies to better manage diabetes and the transition of young adults from pediatric to adult diabetes care providers. Dr. Rodriguez has held numerous positions in the American Diabetes Association, including National Board and Research Grant Review Committee membership. He currently serves on the Scientific Oversight and Legal Advocacy Committees, the Safe at School Working Group, the ADA Diabetes Forecast Editorial Board and he is President of the local ADA Board. He is also a longstanding supporter of diabetes camps in the US and abroad, having recently been elected President of the Florida Camps for Children and Youth with Diabetes. He is current Chair of the Pediatric Endocrine Society Public Policy Council and co-Chair of the Diabetes Advocacy Alliance. Dr. Rodriguez’s passion is to improve the lives of those living with diabetes while pursing prevention and a cure. 


Sujana Reddy, M.D. is currently a Pediatric Endocrinologist and Pediatric Specialist Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida. Dr. Reddy earned her medical degree at Kilpauk Medcial College in Chennai, India. She completed a residency in pediatrics at Richmond University Medical Center, Staten Island, New York. She completed a fellowship in pediatric endocrinology and metabolism at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.


Janet Rodriguez, RN, BSN, CDE  is a licensed Registered Nurse, Certified Diabetes Educator, and Insulin Pump & CGM Specialist with the University of South Florida Diabetes Center.  She obtained her Nursing Diploma from Jackson Memorial Hospital / University of Miami and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from San Francisco State University. Her nursing career began as staff nurse at Jackson Memorial Hospital, in the pediatric intensive care unit, followed by positions in nursing management at Jackson Memorial, Children's Hospital of San Francisco, and California Pacific Medical Center. She transitioned to Quality Improvement and then to diabetes education.  Janet is a certified trainer for all insulin pump and CGM devices, providing education to pediatric and adult patients, their families, and health care professionals. She serves as clinical research nurse coordinator for trails in diabetes technologies, including hybrid-closed-loop systems. Janet has been an active supporter of diabetes camps since the 1990s, serving at camps in California, Indiana, and Florida. She staffs the Florida Diabetes Camps' Sam Fuld Sports, Family, and Adventure Camps in addition to serving a faculty at the annual Children with Diabetes, Friends for Life conference.


Desmond Schatz, M.D. is Professor and Associate Chairman of Pediatrics, Medical Director of the Diabetes Center and Director of the Clinical Research Center within the CTSI at the University of Florida, Gainesville.  He was the 2016 President of Science and Medicine of the American Diabetes Association. Dr. Schatz has been involved in Type 1 diabetes research since the mid 1980’s and has published over 330 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 NIH awards including the University of Florida Clinical Center participating in the NIH-funded TrialNet, NIH-funded international newborn genetic screening (TEDDY) program in North Central Florida and the on the NIH-funded Human Islet Research Network (HIRN) Grant amongst many others.   

David H. Wagner Jr., Ph.D. is currently the Investigator and Head Section of Immunology for the Webb-Waring Center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus   Read more about Dr. Wagner's investigations lab.