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2015 MDF Annual Conference

The 2015 MDF Annual Conference was an enormous success! Click here to read an overview of the weekend.

This year's conference included:


  • NEW Health & Wellness University: Interactive yoga, and meditation sessions and an information session on acupuncture for pain and GI issues that focus on improving quality of life.
  • Meetings on Capitol Hill: On Friday morning, you will be briefed on our legislative agenda and then taken up to Capitol Hill via the Metro (MDF will provide Metro fare cards for attendees) for meetings with your members of Congress. You may choose to participate in just morning meetings, or a full day of meetings. Those returning to the hotel at noon can participate in the Health & Wellness University program, which begins after lunch.
  • Congressional Briefing: A legislative briefing at the US Capitol featuring key members of Congress and their staffs. Space is limited, and a boxed lunch will be provided.


  • Community-Led Sessions: Sessions on topics such as planning your child's IEP, caregiver sessions and a session just for unaffected male caregivers, and coping strategies for adults with DM, all designed to promote information sharing between community members and networking.
  • Physician-Led Sessions: Sessions led by DM clinicians that focus on understanding and managing symptoms, including ADL & Technology: Finding Tools that Work, Staying Strong: DM & Exercise, and more.
  • NEW Research Sessions: Sessions on current and upcoming research led by DM scientists and MDF research director Dr. Sharon Hesterlee, and a presentation from current MDF fellows.
  • JOA Track: Sessions for adults living with juvenile-onset DM, featuring a new art therapy session on Friday, and other activities.

Conference Programming

Thursday, September 17: Pre-Conference Activities
3:00 - 7:00 PM Pre-conference Registration
5:00 - 5:45 PM First Timers' Tea Reception


On Friday, attendees can choose to participate in the full-day advocacy programming, or attend the morning advocacy meetings on Capitol Hill and return to the hotel in the afternoon for the Health & Wellness University. All advocacy participants must attend the 8:30 AM advocacy training prior to the Capitol Hill meetings. Advance registration is required for both the Capitol Hill meetings and the legislative briefing.

Friday, September 18: Conference Program & Agenda
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM Conference Registration
10:00AM - 5:00 PM Vendor Showcase
  Advocacy Track Health & Wellness University
8:30 - 9:00 AM Advocacy Training (required for Capitol Hill participants)
John Fitzpatrick; Aly Galloway
10:00 - 11:45 AM Morning Capitol Hill Meetings (Metro fare provided for participants)
Congressional Staff
12:00 - 1:00 PM Legislative Briefing at US Capitol (box lunch provided)
Dr. S. Subramony, MD, University of Florida; Dr. Gersham Dent, PhD, Biogen; Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL); Rep. Michael Burgess, MD (R-TX)
1:00 - 1:55 PM Afternoon Capitol Hill Meetings (1:30 - 4:00 PM)
Congressional Staff
Meditation for Physical & Emotional Health
Adam Asare, PhD
    Acupuncture for Pain & GI
Paul Robison, LAc
2:00 - 2:55 PM   Adaptive Yoga
Ariele Foster, PT, DPT
    Acupuncture for Pain & GI
Paul Robison, LAc
    Art Therapy for JOAs (2:00 - 4:00 PM)
Denise Brancheau, MA, EdS, HER-BC, LCPA
3:00 - 4:00 PM   Adaptive Yoga
Ariele Foster, PT, DPT
    Meditation for Physical & Emotional Health
Adam Asare, PhD
4:00 - 5:30 PM Support Group Facilitators Lunch & Meeting
5:30 - 7:30 PM Conference Opening Reception & Program


On Saturday, participants have the option of attending any of the sessions within the research, physician-led and community-led tracks. The JOA track is reserved for JOAs.

Saturday, September 19: Conference Program & Agenda
8:00 AM - 1:00 PM Vendor Showcase
9:00 - 9:15 AM General Session: Conference Welcome
Molly White
9:15 - 9:45 AM

Film presentation, introduction by artist Jackie Donachie

  Physician-Led Track Research Track Community-Led Track JOA Track
10:00 - 10:50 AM Heart Health: Understanding DM Cardiac Symptoms
Saman Nazarian, MD
Funding the Next Generation: MDF Fellows Report Out
MDF Fellows; Sharon Hesterlee, PhD
Unaffected Male Caregivers: Caring for Spouses & Children
Kevin Dressler; John Fitzpatrick; Ted Salwin
Welcome, Program
Kathleen Austria; Barry Cohen, PhD
      Planning Your Child's IEP
Sarah Clarke; Ann Spaulding; Penni Warford
11:00 - 11:50 AM Staying Strong: DM & Exercise Panel
Katy Eichinger, PT, DPT, NCS; Ariele Foster, PT, DPT; Mike Hamlin; Leslie Krongold, EdD
Accelerating Research: Talk with Dr. Sharon Hesterlee
Sharon Hesterlee, PhD
DM2: Finding the Right Doctor & Self-Advocacy
Rob Besecker; Tom McPeek; Tina Pinsonneault
JOA Program
Kathleen Austria; Barry Cohen, PhD
      Strategies for Motivating Juvenile-Onset Adults
Denise Millett; Susette Ison; Susan Trachtman
12:00 - 1:00 PM Networking Lunch
Community members will be sorted into tables based on networking interests as selected during conference registration.
1:00 - 1:50 PM Focus on Congenital DM: What to Expect & Tips for Managing
Craig Campbell, MD, FRCPC
Early Stage Therapies Update: Drugs Under Development
Sharon Hesterlee, PhD; Michael French, Marina Biotech; Friedrich Metzger, PhD, Roche; Takako Moriguchi, PhD, Genzyme
Caregivers Only: Maintaining Intimacy
Kathleen Austria; Flo Brekka; Ritika Puri
JOAs & Caregivers: Strategies for Motivating Group Discussion
Barry Cohen, PhD
  Keep Smiling: DM & Oral Health
Steve Perlman, DDS
  Coping Strategies for Adults with DM1
Dean Sage; Edibell Stone; Shannon Taylor
2:00 - 2:55 PM General Session: ADL & Technology - Using Apps for Independence
Betsy Furler, BridgingApps
3:00 - 3:55 PM General Session: Understanding Reimbursement - Insurance & Patient Advocacy
Mike Adelberg, Sr. Director, Faegre BD; Bruce Quinn, MD, Ph.D, Sr. Director, Faegre BD; Dave Zook, Chair, Faegre BD
4:00 - 4:45 PM General Session: Clinical Trial Update - DMPKrx Phase I/II
Laurence Mignon, PhD, Isis Pharmaceuticals
4:45 - 5:00 PM General Session: Conference Wrap-Up & Community Awards Presentation
Jeremy Kelly
6:00 - 8:00 PM Closing Dinner Party






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