George Huntley – CEO

George is a founding member of the Diabetes Leadership Council (DLC) and currently serves as the CEO of both DPAC and DLC.  He has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1983 and has 3 other family members also living with type 1.  A passionate advocate for people with diabetes, George served as the National Chair of the Board of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in 2009. He started his volunteer career with the ADA in 1986, initially serving as Treasurer and later Chair of the Maryland Affiliate. During his tenure, he held several key leadership roles, including Chair of the Baltimore Chapter, Chair of the Indianapolis Leadership Council, Chair of the Heartland Region, and Chair of the National Finance and Affiliate Associations Committees.

George led the ADA’s Task Force on Health Care Reform in 2008 which led to their position statement providing input into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He also chaired the ADA’s Legislative and Regulatory subcommittee from 2011-2015 which establishes the federal and state advocacy priorities for the Association annually.

George is also the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Theoris Group, Inc., a professional services firm headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana that provides technology solutions and software development services. He holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and earned his CPA in 1985 while working with Price Waterhouse though is now in inactive status.

Julie Babbage – Executive Director

Julie is Babbage Cofounder’s Washington, DC lead and also works on state issues. In addition to years of legislative advocacy, Julie brings bipartisan Hill experience and relationships to DPAC. She spent two years in Deloitte’s federal consulting practice helping implement enterprise-wide transformations within several government agencies. Her interest in government began early, and she interned during college at both national and international levels – U.S. House, U.S. Senate, and for the U.S. Ambassador to England through the state department. Julie is a graduate of Vanderbilt University.

Board of Directors

The Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition’s Board of Directors and staff are comprised of passionate leaders in the diabetes community. Many are people with diabetes themselves; all have family members or close friends who live with diabetes. 

Bruce Taylor – Chair

Mr. Taylor is a healthcare veteran with more than 35 years of experience in senior sales, marketing, health policy and advocacy positions with pharmaceutical manufacturers, chain pharmacies, managed care, and medical device manufacturers. Bruce has extensive experience within numerous therapeutic areas that include cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, burn care, diabetes, lipids and CNS. Bruce co-founded the Diabetes Care Project with the National Minority Quality Forum to address the worldwide epidemic of diabetes and the impact to local, national and global communities.

He actively participates on advisory boards for the ADA, AACE, CWD, AADE, The Endocrine Society, the National Minority Quality Forum and AMGF. Mr. Taylor is a highly regarded expert, prominent thought leader and sought-after speaker on topics that include business implications and legislative impacts to the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

Diabetes isn’t just a professional assignment for Bruce but a disease that is personal and demands his attention 24/7/365. He was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 1980 and has actively managing his diabetes for over 30 years. Bruce earned a Bachelor of Science degree (human anatomy / physiology) from Baldwin Wallace College with post graduate work in cardiac physiology. In his prime, Bruce Taylor owned the distinction of world class powerlifter and qualified for the 1980 Olympic games. He is currently the Director of Government Affairs and Market Access at Dexcom.

Stewart Perry  – Vice Chair

Since 1983, Mr. Perry has been the co-owner of Perry & Perry State Farm Insurance, one of the largest State Farm Insurance agencies in the state of Kentucky and is a Diabetes Consultant and Advocate. Stewart’s family has been dramatically affected by diabetes. His son has type 1 diabetes, both parents, and sister have all had diabetes during their lifetime. He has lost an uncle, grandfather and great grandmother to complications of diabetes.

Stewart was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1990. Since that time, he has been actively involved in the American Diabetes Association. Stewart was the Chairman of the National Board of Directors and Chair of the National Advocacy Committee for five years, He was Chair Bluegrass Chapter for a number of years and helped organize many of the fundraising events still in existence. He served as the Kentucky Affiliate Board of Vice-Chair and was Chair-Elect when it became a part of the Southern Region where he served as the Chair of the Southern Region. He also is a former member of the National Board of Directors. He is the State of Kentucky State Advocacy Chair for ADA and sits on the board of T-1 Today, Inc. (Children With Diabetes).

Stewart is a member of the Kentucky Diabetes Network and a founding member of the Fayette County Diabetes Coalition. Stewart was appointed by two different Governors of Kentucky to the GET FIT KY Board and The Diabetes Research Trust Fund Board where he currently still serves. Stewart is one of the founders of the National Diabetes Volunteer Leadership Council and currently serves as an officer of that organization. Where he has been instrumental in passing Diabetes Action Plan legislation in 18 states over the past four years.

Lawrence T. Smith, MBA – Treasurer

In addition to serving as a current board member of the NDVLC, Larry Smith is the founder and manager of a national marketing research and consulting firm in Lexington, Kentucky. His business performs marketing research for firms in a number of industries, particularly the financial services industry.

Prior to starting his own company, Larry served as SVP, VP, and Director of Marketing at several high-value financial organizations in Kentucky and Virginia. He holds an MBA from the University of Louisville.

Larry’s work with the American Diabetes Association is extensive. He has served as Chair of the Kentucky Affiliate and of the Southern Region. He was either a member or Chair of the Inclusion, Marketing, Communications, CEO Selection, Income Development, and Diversity committees. And he has sat as both a member and the Chair of the Board of Directors.

In 2001, the ADA honored Larry with the Addison B. Scoville Award for Volunteerism, and in 2008, he won the Wendell Mays award.

Jeff Hitchcock – Secretary

Jeff Hitchcock is the Founder, President, creator, editor, and webmaster of Children with Diabetes (CWD).  After earning a degree in computational mathematics in 1981, Jeff worked in high tech and traveled the world, meeting Brenda, who would become his wife, in Africa. In September of 1989, their first child was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of two. Jeff worked in defense related industries until 1995, when he started a small internet company and launched Children with Diabetes to share his family’s experience caring for a child with T1D. He subsequently worked at LEXIS-NEXIS and Pearson plc on Internet initiatives, and now works full time bringing Children with Diabetes to you. In addition to serving on DPAC’s board, Jeff also serves on the Board of Directors for Beta Bionics.

Alissa Heizler-Mendoza, MA, RD, CDE

Alissa Heizler-Mendoza is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator and has vast experience and expertise within the diabetes arena for > 20 years.  Alissa began her career at the Clinical Diabetes Center at the University Hospital of the Albert Einstein College, a division of Montefiore prior to transitioning into industry as a Senior Medical Science Liaison at Amylin Pharmaceuticals for 10 years.  

As Alissa’s interest in strategic planning evolved, she joined at Boehringer Ingelheim to develop a successful Global KOL platform and is currently leading the Advocacy Team at Insulet Corporation, a leader in tubeless insulin pump technology.  Alissa received her BS in Dietetics from SUNY Oneonta and a Masters in Strategic Communications and Leadership from Seton Hall University.  She is currently completing a Masters in Public Health in Behavioral Sciences at New York Medical College.  

Alissa has published articles in various journals such as Diabetes Self-Management and the Diabetes Educator and has presented at hundreds of patient and professional meetings related to her clinical, scientific, educational and advocacy expertise in diabetes. Her leadership abilities are highly recognized by various awards including the Elizabeth Seton Leadership Award from Seton Hall University.  

Gary Puckrein, Ph.D

Gary A. Puckrein is President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Minority Quality Forum. Dr. Puckrein also serves as Executive Director of the Alliance of Minority Medical Associations—a collaborative effort of the Asian and Pacific Physicians’ Association, the Association of American Indian Physicians, and the National Medical Association. In 1998 he founded the Forum’s predecessor program (the National Minority Health Month Foundation) to help communities and policy makers eliminate the disproportionate burden of premature death and preventable illness in special populations through the use of evidence-based, data-driven initiatives.

Dr. Puckrein has built the Forum’s capacity to house vital statistics and other information—including demographic, environmental, claims, prescription, laboratory, hospital, and clinic data—in a centralized data warehouse. Dr. Puckrein has also led the development of the Forum’s health indexes and atlases to measure and forecast health status in small geographic areas, evaluate the impact of specific interventions, monitor changes in health outcomes, and provide information and analysis regarding the health of ethnic and racial minorities. Dr. Puckrein published two successful magazines: American Visions and Minority Health Today. Dr. Puckrein was awarded his doctorate from Brown University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa.

Christina Roth

Christina is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of CDN (College Diabetes Network). Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 14, Christina became an active patient advocate while in college where she started CDN as a campus group in 2009.

Due to the overwhelming response to the initial group, Christina expanded CDN into a national non-profit organization serving young adults with diabetes. After graduation, Christina worked at the Joslin Diabetes Center and consulted for the T1D Exchange. As CEO of CDN, Christina frequently speaks on topics such as CDN’s programs, research on the young adult population and how to meet their unique needs, non-profit management, women in business, innovation, and startup organizations.

Michael R. Swearingen

Mike’s broad background in healthcare includes 30 years of management experience with increasing responsibilities at Eli Lilly & Co. and Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Care. He is currently Managing Director of Blackbriar-LLC International Consulting.

Mike’s leadership and analytic ability have been demonstrated in strategic thinking across International healthcare advocacy, policy, and KOL identification-categorization. He has worked with key thought leaders, professional medical associations, grassroots organizations, elected officials, and government agencies, to create major enduring initiatives such as “Diabetes Awareness Days,” numerous national and international medical education conferences, advisory boards, state and federal advocacy training workshops, and national sales and management meetings.

His global experience includes North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. In the U.S., Mike has been a catalyst for passage of several state legislative measures to improve healthcare outcomes. Mike was instrumental in the passage of a state licensure requirement for Diabetes Educators in the States of Kentucky and Indiana. Mike has been recognized as an honorary Physician Assistant in Indiana, and in 2014 the Diabetes Care Education practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics awarded him the national DCE Champion Award.

L. Hunter Limbaugh

L. Hunter Limbaugh was born, raised, and educated in Florida. He received his B.A degree from Stetson University in 1979 and his J.D. from Stetson University College of Law in 1982. He practiced law in Central Florida until his marriage to Nell Quarles took him to South Carolina.

After practicing law in South Carolina for five years, Hunter was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives. He served on the Judiciary Committee and Chaired the General Laws and Constitutional Laws Subcommittees and served on the Joint Legislative Committee for Judicial Screening. In 1997 Hunter became Chief Legal Counsel to Governor David Beasley. He also served on the Sentencing Guidelines Commission and the Juvenile Justice Task Force.

Following his service to the Governor, Hunter returned to practicing law and began doing government relations work (lobbying) for a variety of clients.

Since 2004 Hunter has been Southeastern Counsel for Wine Institute, the trade association for California winegrowers. In that role Hunter is responsible for legislative and regulatory relations in nine states (FL, GA, SC, TN, KY, AL, AR, MS, LA) in the Southeast.

When Hunter’s daughter, Leah, was diagnosed with diabetes on March 16, 2001, Hunter became an active volunteer for the American Diabetes Association. Hunter served two terms on the National Board of Directors and was Chair of the Board in 2012. He has served on the Advocacy Committee (Past Chair), Finance Committee and Legal Advocacy Subcommittee, in addition to numerous Task Forces and Work Groups. Hunter now serves on the Board of Directors of the National Diabetes Volunteer Leadership Council.

Hunter is the proud father of Benjamin (27), an Assistant Attorney General in South Carolina, and Leah (25), a Master’s student at Harvard Divinity School, and is the usually obedient husband of Nell.