The wait is over! It’s finally time to announce the winners of our 2019 DiabetesMine Patient Voices Contest, offering full scholarships to 10 engaged patients to be part of our Fall Innovation Days in San Francisco.

This annual contest gives us a chance to get to know a variety of inspirational people in this community — with a record number of applicants this year!

We’d like to thank EVERYONE who entered the contest and supported this effort, with a special nod of thanks to this year’s guest judge, Kerri Sparling.

Kerri is of course a long-time diabetes blogger, advocate and author who is well-loved for her uber-relatable writing style. Kerri started her blog SixUntilMe in 2005, just months after DiabetesMine was born, and we’ve attend many a community event alongside her over the years.

If you haven’t experienced Kerri’s wonderful POV on T1D, you are missing out! Check out her book, Balancing Diabetes: Conversations About Finding Happiness and Living Well.

Regarding our nearly 200 contest applicants this year, Kerri simply says, “What an amazing list!” Thank you, Kerri!

This year’s winners were once again chosen based on the combination of their ideas, passion, background, and expressed reasons for wanting to be part of our annual DiabetesMine Innovation Summit.

They will each receive a full scholarship to attend our Fall 2019 event, happening on Nov. 7-8 at UCSF’s Mission Bay biotech conference center. This year, we’re again combining our Innovation Summit and D-Data ExChange technology forum under the umbrella of our new learning platform, DiabetesMine University (DMU). We’re excited for round 2 of this enriching educational and networking experience!

Dan Bisno (An Aspiring Endo and DIY Closed Looper)

A California-based type 1 with experience coordinating T1D research studies at the Center for Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). He is just now starting at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, with the goal of becoming a pediatric endocrinologist — his dream since diagnosis at age 11. During his studies, Dan will continue his work with CHLA remotely, leading online shared medical appointments for adolescents and young adults with T1D. He writes: “Nothing gets me more excited than diabetes innovations (well, excluding Game of Thrones). I will readily admit that I am a ‘diabetes nerd’ and over time I have spent countless hours reading blogs and diabetes research, as well as interacting with other PWDs about diabetes innovations.” Dan’s excited to attend our forum because he believes he has a powerful POV that he can leverage to help drive innovation in the right direction. We think so too!

Mila Clarke Buckley (T2D Blogger Seeks ‘Judgement-Free’ Space)

A woman living with type 2 diabetes in Houston, TX, who some in our online community may recognize as the creator of Hangry Woman, with over 10,000 monthly blog readers, and a social media community of more than 40,000 people. Mila’s day job is working with cancer patients to share their stories of what it’s like to live with and survive cancer, “but from 8pm to 1am, I’m busy writing and building content for my type 2 diabetes website… I stay super busy talking about type 2 diabetes.” Mila’s all about the emphasis on patient stories and lived experience, or as she puts it, “not just selling the products, but really showing how people’s lives can change for the better.” We’re excited to include her.

Hannah Carey (Advocate and Budding Doctor Tackles Access Issues)

A type 1 who currently works at a gastroenterology clinic in Oregon. She holds a Master of Public Health from Boston University, and will be starting medical school at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine this August. She has captained fundraising teams for the JDRF One Walk the past two years, and is interested in becoming a diabetes health coach or peer educator once she begins medical school in Chicago. She writes: “Diabetes technology has changed my life and improved my quality of life without a question. At the same time, I feel there is much to the patient experience that our healthcare providers and other diabetes stakeholders may not yet understand… I have noted consistent weaknesses in the way PWD are taught about diabetes, diabetes management, and the utility of technology. I am passionate about addressing these issues in healthcare and support, particularly for populations with increased barriers to care.”

Amber Clour (D-Podcaster Aims to Bridge Patient-Medical Community Gap)

A type 1 from Oklahoma, Amber co-founded the Diabetes Daily Grind blog and hosts the Real Life Diabetes podcast. Last November, she chose to pursue diabetes advocacy full-time and now hosts “Real Life Diabetes” Happy Hour meetups throughout the United States and attends as many diabetes-related events as possible. From 2016-2018, Amber served as Associate Director for Healthy Living OKC, the first wellness center for individuals age 50+. In that role, she facilitated various diabetes workshops, created/hosted a Wellness Expo and Diabetes Awareness Day, partnered with local hospitals to provide Diabetes Prevention Programs and hosted a bi-monthly diabetes support group.

Erica Marie Farr (T1D Peep Encouraged to ‘Spread Her Wings’ in Advocacy)

A T1D graduate student at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI. She is pursing an MPH (Master of Public Health) with an emphasis in health promotions. After graduation in Spring of 2020 she plans to obtain credentials to continue on to become a CDE (certified diabetes educator). She was diagnosed at age 6, and has gone on to be an active member and former president of the College Diabetes Network chapter at Grand Valley State University. She now works part-time at the Michigan Great Lakes West JDRF Chapter as a Development Assistant, is an outreach volunteer for JDRF, and enjoys connecting with the T1D community through networking groups. She says her local endocrinologist urged her to apply for this opportunity. Welcome, Erica!

Nicholas Galloway (Diabetes ‘Tech Nerd’ Both Patient and Provider)

An Ohio-based T1D who works as nurse CDE at Cleveland Clinic Foundation providing diabetes education individually and in group settings. His incredible resume includes giving a poster presentation at ADA19 regarding benefits of professional CGM shared medical appointments; presenting for AADE on the national, state, and local level, including webinars; and conducting training for both patients and providers on pumps, CGMs, and how to interpret data reports. He writes: “I enjoy trying new things and love to be able to speak to a product and give personal perspective/insight as a user — currently Looping… I have gained personal insights from a vast and diverse population, (so) I can easily represent needs and concerns about diabetes technology.”

Shelby Kinnaird (T2 Diabetic Foodie on Meals, Meds & More)

A type 2 living near Richmond, VA, with an impressive resume. She runs a website called Diabetic Foodie and has authored two books about diabetes and food. She’s a diabetes advocate who’s attended the last three ADA Calls to Congress, a member of the ADA’s Virginia Advocacy Council, and she runs two local DiabetesSisters support groups and serves on their Board of Directors. She’s also a member of Novo Nordisk’s DEEP (Disease Experience Expert Panel) for type 2 diabetes. Her three advocacy hot buttons right now are universal acess to CGMs (“the best thing I’ve ever done for my diabetes management”), #languagematters and stigma issues, and insulin affordability. We hear you, Shelby!

Lisa Oberndorfer (D-Mom Founds Diabetes Financial Assistance Org)

An Indianapolis-based D-mom who serves as Executive Director of Diabetes Will’s Way (DWW), an all-volunteer non-profit that helps families financially manage their child’s T1D. She writes: “As both a parent of a PWD and an advocate, I believe it is my responsibility to know as much as I can… Very often I need to help my clients navigate more than just the financial aspect of T1D. I direct them to research, websites, support groups, educational opportunities and innovations.” And on access: “So many believe that if a family has insurance then they can afford the treatments recommended by their endocrinologists. This is simply often not true. High out-of-pocket costs can make obtaining the basic necessities unaffordable for many.”

Ethan Parikh (Type 1 Teen and His Endo Dad)

A Canadian T1D high school student who will be entering 11th grade this Fall in Oakville, Ontario. His interests include debating and public speaking (he made it to the Canadian Junior Debating Championships in 2018), travelling and playing soccer in different countries with kids from around the world. He says: “I believe that youth like myself are the key to moving the treatment of type 1 diabetes forward. My dad also has type 1 diabetes and is an adult endocrinologist (Dr. Parikh will be accompanying Ethan). Through him, I have seen first hand over the years how innovation in diabetes care can improve quality of life and help people to achieve their goals. It is my vision to help continue this work.”

Jaquita Sampson (Former Medtronic Tech Trainer Talks Advocacy, Momhood)

A T1D stay-at-home mom of two in Georgia with a background in nursing. She has lived with diabetes for 38 years. Her interests are innovative technologies that help people live better with diabetes and how these technologies can be used to engage and empower self-management. She writes: “This is a huge component of overall success for ‘thriving’ with diabetes. It’s a true partnership between the patient, healthcare provider, diabetes educator, nutritionist, industry leaders, etc.”

CONGRATULATIONS! We look forward to hosting this incredible group — and tapping their knowledge — at our second-ever “DiabetesMine University” themed event this Fall.

Meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled for in-depth interviews with each of these amazing winners in the coming weeks.