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 Florida Southwestern State College.

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David R. Axline, MD, FACC  graduated from Princeton University with a degree in molecular biology. He received his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania and his fellowship in Cardiovascular Diseases at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, in his hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts. He has been practicing cardiology in Southwest Florida since 1994.

Dr. Axline’s expertise lies in a variety of cardiac imaging modalities which are used for diagnosis, follow-up and treatment of a wide range of cardiac diseases. He has a special interest in the diagnosis and treatment of congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation and coronary artery disease. Primary prevention is an important part of his practice with an emphasis on blood pressure, cholesterol and life style changes including smoking cessation and better exercise habits.

SPEAKING TOPIC: Risk Factors, Mortality and Cardiovascular Outcomes in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes


Joel Bennett, PhD is President of Organizational Wellness & Learning Systems (OWLS), a consulting firm that specializes in evidence-based wellness and e-learning technologies to promote organizational health and employee well-being. Dr. Bennett first delivered stress management programming in 1985 and OWLS programs have since reached close to 50,000 workers across the United States and abroad.

He is primary developer of “Team Awareness” and “Team Resilience,” evidence-based, culture of health programs recognized by the U.S. Dept. of Health as effective in reducing employee behavioral risks. Team Awareness has been adapted by the U.S. National Guard as one of their flagship prevention programs and it has been used by municipalities, hospitals, restaurants, electrician training centers, small businesses, Native American tribal government, and in Italy and South Africa.

SPEAKING TOPIC: Being Diabetes: Wholeness, Resilience, and Health Consciousness

A growing body of research points to particular strengths or protective factors that might prevent the onset of diabetes and its progression. The various stressors associated with diabetes require that any approach to prevention and treatment include a regimen of positive and instrumental coping skills. This session reviews three positive and existential factors: (1) wholeness – the internal sense that we are whole and complete (not in spite of, but because of, diabetes); (2) resilience – using stress as a positive resource for learning and growth; and (3) health consciousness – paying attention to what we ingest and triggers for relapse. Participants will be guided through highly interactive exercises to learn about and apply these three factors to their being a human being who is being.


Dr. Wesley Drew Chapman, DPM, AACFAS is a podiatrist with the Family Foot & Leg Center in Naples. At the Family Foot and Leg Center, we pride ourselves in dealing with complex cases of reconstructive foot / ankle medicine and surgery. The practice has been distinguished by fellow physicians, nurses and therapists as a center for advanced care. We are honored to be the chosen physicians / surgeons for so many of our fellow doctors, nurses and hospital staff members. 


  • Ohio Podiatric Medicine Training Certificate – 2011-Present

  • American Heart Association Basic Life Support – Recertified 2013

  • American Heart Association Advanced Life Support – Recertified 2013

  • American Heart Association Pediatric Advanced Life Support – 2010


Ruth Fehr is a professionally trained chef and culinary translator. Through her work she teaches people about health supportive foods and how to use it as a tool for health and healing.  

A certified Mind Body Nutrition Coach, and holistic nutrition practitioner. She is accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.  Ruth also  received professional training in food therapy by world renowned food and nutrition expert Annemarie Colbin.

Ruth designs and executes educational programs and workshops.  She has extensive experience working in corporate, non-profit and educational settings. Her work includes training health professionals in the art & science of Culinary Translation, teaching nutrition education to school children, and working with individuals and families on food choices and preparation techniques for creating therapeutic, nourishing meals.   

 Ruth received her BS from Florida International University and her MBA from Nova Southeastern University. 

SPEAKING TOPIC:  Food For Health & Healing


Jessica Davenport, BS, Jessica Davenport, BS, is the founder and owner of Wellness Dreamer, a health and wellness company she created in 2017.  Jessica holds a Bachelors degree in Wellness Leadership from the University of South Florida.  She is a certified Health & Wellness Coach through Wellcoaches and a certified Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise.  Jessica has worked in the health and wellness industry for 11 years and has held positions with a variety of companies ranging from a global human capital management (HCM) software company to one of the largest health insurance providers in the United States.  Prior to founding Wellness Dreamer, she was the Wellness Specialist for PSCU, a Credit Union Service Organization where she managed all the wellness programs for over 1700 employees. In 2016, Jessica was instrumental in helping PSCU become one of the first companies in the US to receive the coveted Health Champion Designation from the American Diabetes Association.


 Jessica is extremely passionate about health and wellness as a whole but has a particular interest in the areas of sleep health and diabetes.  Her interest in sleep health stems from the fact that she knows exactly what it’s like to be a sleepy person.  Just prior to college Jessica began experiencing the invisible symptoms of multiple sleep disorders.  She lived with these symptoms for over a decade until they were eventually diagnosed as sleep apnea in 2007 and narcolepsy type II in 2010.  Because of her battle with sleep disorders, she felt the need to create more awareness in her own community.  In 2014, she co-founded Sleep Tampa Bay, a grassroots organization dedicated to advocating for sleep health and sleep disorder awareness in the Tampa Bay area.  As for her passion for diabetes, it began during her time working as a health coach for an insurance company where she gained experience coaching many patients living with diabetes.  But her passion for diabetes education and advocacy grew exponentially when her son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2016, at the age of 6.  Since her son’s diagnoses Jessica has been working diligently to advocate for her son and for others who live with diabetes.  In 2017, Jessica united her 11 years of experience in the wellness industry with her personal experiences and passion for change to create Wellness Dreamer, a health and wellness company that offers one-on-one and group wellness coaching, consulting services for corporate wellness clients, personal training, and professional speaking services.

SPEAKING TOPIC: Importance of Sleep & Living with Diabetes


Angela B. Echeverria, M.D. is board certified in General and Vascular Surgery specializing in all aspects of treatment of arterial and venous disorders. 

Dr. Echeverria was raised in Wisconsin and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and subsequently her Doctorate in Pharmacology at Butler University in Indianapolis. She began her career as a Clinical Pharmacist and through her work during mission trips, was inspired to return to medical school and complete her MD. She completed her general surgery residency at the University of Arizona in Tucson and vascular and endovascular surgery fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

During her fellowship at the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at Baylor, she received training from many experts in the field of vascular disease. She received training in complex thoracoabdominal aneurysms working side by side with Dr. Joseph Coselli, an internationally recognized expert. She also gained experience in complex endovascular reconstruction for aortic
disease. Dr. Echeverria brings her expertise and the most technically advanced, comprehensive minimally invasive options in vascular surgery to Southwest Florida.

SPEAKING TOPIC:  Complications of the Lower Limbs and How to Avoid Them


Donna Johnson-Byrd, DNP, RN, NCSN is a licensed Registered Nurse and nursing educator with Florida Southwestern State College and a Nationally certified School Nurse.  Dr. Johnson obtained her Diploma nursing at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan, New York and completed her doctorate in nursing practice at Walden University. Dr. Johnson began her career as a staff nurse in cardiac step down and worked for nearly 20 years as a school nurse in Pasco County, Florida. During that time, she established a school nurse and Diabetes educator partnership program in the Tampa Bay area to support school nurses and diabetic children in the school setting.  Dr. Johnson has volunteered at Diabetes Camps and has a passion for educating children and families about the management of Diabetes. Dr. Johnson is a Blue Zone Ambassador.

SPEAKING TOPIC: The Importance of Nutrition and Exercise with Diabetes


Dr. Jaclyn Kovach is a retina specialist and Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and has lived in Naples and cared for patients at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at Naples for the past 12 years.  In an effort to bring cutting-edge treatments for retina disease to the Naples community, Dr. Kovach created a Clinical Trial Center at BPEI Naples in 2015.  In addition to pursuing her mission of excellence in patient care, Dr. Kovach has created and directs a rotation for medical students, a medical retina fellowship based at BPEI Naples, and an annual retina conference that draws retina specialists from across the nation.  Dr. Kovach has published over 90 book chapters and peer-reviewed articles and has presented her research with a focus on macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy in over 100 lectures around the world.  She is the recipient of the Castle Connolly Top Doctors award, an American Academy of Ophthalmology Achievement Award, and an Honor Award from the American Society of Retina Specialists.  Dr. Kovach also serves as a member of the Florida Lions Eye Clinic Board of Directors.  When not pursuing her clinical, teaching, and research interests, Dr. Kovach enjoys jogging, travel, and spending time with her husband Dr. Brad Kovach, a Mohs surgeon in town, her 6 year-old son, and her cockapoo.

SPEAKING TOPIC:  Update on the Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy 

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Dr. Jake Kushner is a McNair Medical Institute Scholar and an Associate Professor at the Baylor College of Medicine. For 6 years he served as Chief of Pediatric Diabetes and Endocrinology at the Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. His overarching career goal is to help children, adolescents, and young adults with type 1 diabetes and other endocrine disorders to live long, healthy lives. A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Dr. Kushner earned his medical doctorate from Albany Medical College followed by pediatrics residency at Brown, pediatric endocrinology fellowship at Children’s Hospital Boston, and a 5-year research fellowship at the Joslin Diabetes Center (both of Harvard Medical School). Prior to arriving at the Baylor College of Medicine Dr. Kushner was at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The overall goal of his basic science research program is to enable regeneration of the insulin-secreting pancreatic beta cells as novel therapies for diabetes patients. Dr. Kushner has received numerous national honors, including a Basil O’Connor award from the March of Dimes and elected membership to the American Society of Clinical Investigation. He has also served as president of the Society for Pediatric Research. His research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and other sources. Dr. Kushner serves as an advisor to Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Virta Health Inc., and the T1D Exchange. He is the current chair of DDK-B, an NIH study section that reviews training applications in diabetes research. Dr. Kushner’s clinical interests center around the care of children, adolescents, and young adults with type 1 diabetes. 

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Deborah Passero,, Healthy Living and Membership Director at the Marco Island YMCA, is passionate about serving the community. While earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Supervision at Purdue University, she was inspired to obtain her IDEA Group Exercise Certification. Deborah raised her four children and worked as a Sales Rep and Administrator for AFLAC in Michigan. She made the passion to transition into the Health and Fitness Industry by earning her second Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology/Cardiac Rehab from Michigan State University.

Deborah’s career in fitness took off when she obtained Personal Training Certifications from National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and worked at the Westside Community YMCA of Lansing as Fitness Coordinator. While there for seven years she enjoyed developing classes and programs for youth, adults and seniors. She served members with well over 12,000 hours of Personal Training; while, writing grants for Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Program, Childhood Obesity, Active Older Adults and FitStart. Deborah continued with her Personal Training Certification with Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), and WholyFit with a focus on bible verses and worship music, Gentle Body Power which offers MAT muscle activation technique and flexibility. Deborah also worked with the Greater Grand Rapids YMCA teaching cycling, cardio/strength and Personal Training. Deborah teaches these Marco YMCA classes: Cardio/Strength/Core, WholyFit Gentle Body Power, and Rock Steady Boxing for Parkinson’s Disease.

Deborah has enjoyed serving the Marco Family YMCA community since May of 2014. She and her husband enjoy serving the community together as well as spending time with their family..

PANELIST ON:  Using The Clinic to Community Model to Manage Diabetes and Other Chronic Disease. 


Trina Radske-Suchan, PT, CSCS, FMSC serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief Health Officer for Core Health Partners.  She received her Masters degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Iowa 17 years ago and has dedicated most of her career to preventing behaviors leading to death, disability and rising health care costs.  She’s done that by leading community efforts to address chronic disease, health disparities, and health-related concerns of aging populations. 

 Physical Therapists are uniquely educated and trained to adapt health care recommendations to the community environment where individuals live, work, learn, and play.  Her expertise as a physical therapist was essential in the development of the first YMCA-hospital partnership nationally that created the YMCA Healthy Living Center (Y-HLC) in Clive, Iowa employing and administering physical and aquatic therapy and medically-integrated programs and services.  As the Y-HLC Medical Program Executive from 2009-2017, she led the Y-HLC medically-integrated efforts reaching over 1,160 provider referrals.  Y-HLC membership peaked at 8,300 members and nearly half of the membership population was driven by a medical referral.  She averaged 160 referrals per month with the highest month achieving 257 referrals.  She managed over 20 medical programs that delivered evidence-based educational curriculum, self-management training, behavior modification, group and independent exercise related to disease or impairment, and ongoing support through health coaching. 

 Trina works to build broader approaches to chronic disease management through partnerships with health care systems, government agencies, non-profits and corporate partners as well as build collaborations to enhance support for the clinic to community health model. Today, CHP builds environments where clinic and community come together to fight chronic disease by executing community-based strategies that proactively link and support clinical services. 

SPEAKING TOPICS:  Using The Clinic to Community Model to Manage Diabetes and Other Chronic Disease. 

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Monica Ramos was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic at the young age of 18 and best managed the disease through her college years earning a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition from Montclair State University in New Jersey.  Monica started her professional career with the New York City Dept. of Education as a Nutrition Services Manager.  She then furthered her career by earning an Associate degree in Nursing from Bon Secours Canterbury School of Nursing in Jersey City, NJ and later a Bachelor of Nursing from Chamberlain University, Downers Grove, Il.

With over 12 years of experience in clinical nursing, diabetes education, and nutrition education, Monica joins the Core Health Partners (CHP) clinical team as the CHP Nurse Navigator working on CHP’s SW Florida Diabetes Initiative.  This past summer, she served the needs of young Type I diabetic children through Help a Diabetic Child’s (HADC) diabetes camp held at the Marco Family YMCA.  Monica is an outstanding advocate for healthy lifestyles and healthy environments and possesses a strong desire to improve patient outcomes by providing patient and family-centered care around managing a life with diabetes.  Monica is an effective communicator who is bilingual in Spanish and English.  

Through the generosity of the Weny Charitable Trust supporting CHP’s SW Florida Diabetes Initiative, Monica is able to serve the needs of diabetic patients and the providers within the walls of Health Care Network. In addition, she works within CHP’s Diabetes Education and Navigation Center at the Marco Family YMCA providing prevention and chronic disease management programs and services to that community in partnership with the YMCA.

Monica is a member of the American Diabetes Association and is certified as an Insulin Pump Trainer.

SPEAKING TOPICS:  Using The Clinic to Community Model to Manage Diabetes and Other Chronic Disease. 


Susie Roberts, MS, RDN, LD, CWPD, CIC®, serves as the Nutrition Services Director at Core Health Partners (CHP) where she is involved in a number of programs, initiatives and therapies.  Susie began her professional career in 1990 as the Employee Benefits Manager for a national trucking company with 3,000 employees and a self-funded health plan.  While there, she spearheaded a wellness study and health education program to address the unhealthy lifestyle habits of drivers, which were contributing to rising healthcare costs.  This experience sparked a greater personal interest in Susie to continue to use her MBA from Iowa State University (ISU) and her passion for wellness in a corporate setting. 

In 2007, the opportunity to change career fields to consult employers on developing employee wellness programs arose.  Susie accepted the challenge, expanding her skills by adding both Certified Wellness Program Director and Intrinsic Coach certifications to her credentials.  For six years she consulted with employers across Iowa, creating healthier worksites.  In 2013, Susie returned to college one more time, and earned a Dietetics degree from ISU three years later. 

Today, as a registered dietitian nutritionist, Susie leads the AADE accreditation efforts for CHP’s Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support services, and oversees community nutrition education on disease prevention and treatment. She also provides health and nutrition coaching as well as corporate nutrition education. Outside of work, Susie is an active member of the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, volunteers at her church, and spending time with family.

SPEAKING TOPICS:  Food For Health & Healing

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. 


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.


Glenn Woodley, DPM is a podiatrist with Family Foot & Leg Center in Naples.At the Family Foot and Leg Center, we pride ourselves in dealing with complex cases of reconstructive foot / ankle medicine and surgery. The practice has been distinguished by fellow physicians, nurses and therapists as a center for advanced care. We are honored to be the chosen physicians / surgeons for so many of our fellow doctors, nurses and hospital staff members.